I first started writing this book for me. One day, my then three-year-old came home from preschool and said, “Mommy, did you know that when you die, you go to a place called Heaven?”She was very excited because it sounded like a great place.Indeed it does, but Heaven doesn’t fit within my world view, so I certainly never taught her that.Someone at school had.I knew then that I needed to counter these myths with something, but what?
At that time I wasn’t even aware that secular communities existed, so I felt very alone.I struggled for a couple more years.In that time, I taught my daughter about my world view as an Atheist and told her that one day when she was old enough she would decide what she believed.I had also managed to give her a simple explanation of Christianity.But as she got into public school, it became harder and harder to counter a lot of the messages she was getting from her friends and teachers, especially during Christmas and Easter.
So I started looking for a book that would help me teach my children about religion.I found Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief.It’s a great book, and I recommend reading it if you have the time.It also has many great activities that you can do with your children.In Raising Freethinkers, Dale McGowan cautions parents against not teaching your children about religion, which is exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to wait until my children were older before I began teaching them about religion. He points out that children are more susceptible to proselytization when they have no religious education whatsoever, and I was finding that to be true with my daughter.He recommended a number of books and movies to teach kids about religion, but I felt I still needed something else.
Shortly after I began research for this book, I realized that I needed to do more than just summarize religion.I wanted to write this book as a guide for myself and others on how to look at religion critically, in ways that allowed our children to make judgments for themselves.
The book I started writing as a result of all of this is called A Secular Parent's Guide to Teaching Religion. The purpose of the book is 1. to provide parents and children with information about five of the most popular world religions and 2. to provide parents with way to talk to children about religion, encouraging children to think critically about religion. It's a short book designed to help initiate conversations between children and their parents about religion
Each chapter is divided into three sections, a summary section, a conversation starters section, and a projects section. The projects section was designed with an educational theory known as brain science in mind. People retain information by doing, so the projects are designed to get children doing something with the information contained in the summary section. The conversation starters section was designed with an educational theory known as Bloom's Taxonomy in mind. There are lower order thinking skills, like recognizing and recalling information, and higher order thinking skills, like analyzing and evaluating. The conversation starters are designed to help children recall information from the summary section and to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate that information while talking to their parents.
This book is nearly finished. The anticipated completion date is June 1st. I need funds to begin printing and distributing the book. It will be available online in an ereader format, but I also want to make it available in print. The $800 I am asking for will cover the costs of printing 100 copies and obtaining a legal copyright and ISBN number. There is a sample chapter on my website.
Risks and challenges
The book is close to completion. There is nothing that will keep it from being written. The only challenges I anticipate is giving an accurate estimate of how much time it will take to make the book available to e-readers and in print. I am not concerned about not being able to print if fully backed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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