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Religious Ed at school


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#1 3inthebed

Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:37 AM

DS just started school and we just got a note home asking us if we wanted him to participate in RE class. It is not compulsory. This is a non-religious state primary school and we are a non religious family.
I dont have any problem with him taking the class even if it's not what I dont believe in. He can decide for himself how much he wants to take in. He can ask us questions and we can answer the good ol.......well some people like to believe..... After all, I did RE classes all the way through my schooling at a non religious school and it didn't sway me from my beliefs but rather just educated me on another subject at school. My DH however seems adamant DS does not participate. I didn't think he would feel so strongly about this.
I also don't want DS to feel like he is not included if there are only a few kids that don't participate in RE.
So, anyone else in the same position as us? What have you decided and why? Does it really matter?

#2 BobTony

Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:43 AM

DD started school last year and we were adamant that she was not going to do religious education. In state schools it's usually taught by volunteers from that specific church, so you are very much getting one individuals take on their own religion. I'd be happy for DD to learn about religion from a neutral viewpoint, but I don't want someone filling up her head with views that our family does not subscribe to.

#3 HerringToMarmalade

Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:43 AM

Can you find out what he'll do if he's not in the religion class?

I also went to a religious school and never believed it, but I think it depends how its taught - the non-religious schools seem to end up with more preachy people, IYKWIM, I guess because they may be volunteers as WingBob says. My problem with it is that it doesn't tend to be a religion class, but a christianity class. I'd try to find out more about the specific class and what would be organised for those not doing religion before making a decision.

Edited by HerringToMarmalade, 02 February 2013 - 09:45 AM.


#4 tazcan

Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:38 AM

The RE lessons at our public non religious school are very preachy and the kids are always given lollies in class. Personally I was totally gobsmacked by some of the things DD was coming home saying. The children who don't participate stay supervised in their classroom with their normal teacher and play or colour. Thankfully this year our school is introducing ethics lessons as an alternative.

#5 2bundles

Posted 02 February 2013 - 02:26 PM

I feel the same as you. Education is always a positive.

DS attends a different religion to ours, but it is Christian. He hasn't said anything that makes me think he is being misinformed or brainwashed. He wants to go so he does.

I think about 50-70% of kids go and it is quite an alternate school.

#6 minxy07

Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:01 PM

we pulled DS out of RE after about 6 weeks as even though it is supposed to be a class in "general" religion it was totally about christianity and nothing about all the other wonderful cultures and religions that make our school what it is (which when you read the syllabus they actually started was part of teh curriculum.
While our kids are kept in their class room they utilise the time reading, finishing work, colouring etc - nothing to stressful.
As the teachers are volunteers from the church, what is taught a lot of the time is what that person believes.  At the end of last year we had a major issue at our school (primary - grade 1 class) where when a child asked a question about santa, the class was told in no uncertain terms that santa didn't exist and that your parents gave you presents! To say the school and parents were horrified was an understatement.
I am all for a class that teaches children a "balanced view" about all religions and I think this is sadly missing from our education system
Just my opinion and experiences


#7 ImpatientAnna

Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:13 PM

I have found that in nsw public schools it's pretty preachy and as it's run by church volunteers, they are often trying get more attendance at the local church. I won't be letting my DS attend when he commences school. I will be teaching DS about eastern religions, DH can do Christianity (his dad was a Presbyterian minister - but he is now an atheist) and we both know a little about Judaism and Islam......though admittedly could do with a better resource with those two.

#8 epl0822

Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:24 PM

I realise there are horror stories about RE just as there are horror stories about unqualified people teaching any subject. However my personal experience of RE was positive. I went to a Christian school and my RE teacher was adamant that RE classes would be, literally, a religious education - so we learnt about several major religions across the world. It was fascinating to visit a mosque and learn about the major tenets of Islam from an imam, then discuss afterwards what was true/false about the perceptions we previously held about Islam. We also learnt what distinguished the different denominations across Christianity and about Buddhism etc.

Even if RE classes teach only Christianity, I still think it's worth learning, for the sake of education. You can be involved and encourage your kids to think critically. I think it's really sad when atheist parents insist on keeping their kids in ignorance about all religions (in fact, I think it's really narrow minded) because we live in a world where lots of people's choices and decisions and politics and such are influenced by religion. You also understand history and other cultures a lot better when you have a basic grasp of religion. If I lived in an Islam dominated culture I would want my children to learn about Islam so they better understand their surroundings and the beliefs of their peers and why they believe what they believe.

#9 BadCat

Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:40 PM

QUOTE (epl0822 @ 05/02/2013, 03:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it's really sad when atheist parents insist on keeping their kids in ignorance about all religions (in fact, I think it's really narrow minded) because we live in a world where lots of people's choices and decisions and politics and such are influenced by religion.


You do know that atheist parents are often quite capable of teaching their kids about various beliefs?  What's more, we can do it without any of the elelments of indoctrination which are so often present in RE classes.

I am an atheist and I would let my child go to RE when pigs fly.

#10 MrsLexiK

Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:16 PM

My first few years of school was at a non religious school.  I did RE (I was however baptized) I don't remember it being preachy as such and if it was it clearly didn't really hold too much.  I moved to a religious private school later and we had to do RE lessons and later in yr 11 and 12 they did Ethics instead.  We had chapel and a few other church services each term and had to sing hyms and say a prayer at most assembly's (it was Angelican school) The RE teacher there was fantastic though, basically Angelican views where taught in things like chapel and in the readings that where selected however we were taught in RE about all other types of religon (this happened even in the jnr school section not just in the high school sectino) and we learnt alot about events involving religon tensions and issues .


#11 Lishyfips

Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:49 PM

I won't be letting my kids do RE at their state primary school until I know a bit about who is coming in to run the sessions. I'm all for them learning a bit about Christianity but am put off by stories of right-wing Christian extremists taking on the gig to push their views. If it's some nice person from the Uniting Church with progressive, socially inclusive views I'd be all for it.

#12 Lyn29

Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:18 PM

.

Edited by bye, 29 March 2013 - 02:42 PM.


#13 MsNorbury

Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:12 PM

QUOTE
I think it's really sad when atheist parents insist on keeping their kids in ignorance about all religions (in fact, I think it's really narrow minded) because we live in a world where lots of people's choices and decisions and politics and such are influenced by religion.


I think it is really sad that people come into my child's school and teach them their one religious doctrine. Yes at our school it is religious instruction, not religious education, there is a diference.  I know of young kids kids who have been told that you must believe in god and they have come home worried for their parents.

If there was an option for a real curriculum that shares the social, political and historical contexts and beliefs of a range of religons then I would be first in line to sign up. If it is a volunteer from the local church where I have no idea what they are teaching or who they are then no thanks.

By the same token I think it is sad when people hold their children back from sex ed based on their religion, denying them important information! or

Edited by juliettesmum, 05 February 2013 - 06:13 PM.


#14 minxy07

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:18 AM

I agree Juliettes mum, I have no problem with my kids being taught religious education as long as it is all religions. My kids went to a creche where there were a lot of carers from various ethnic backgrounds. They came away from this with a great overall understanding that everyone had different beliefs, values and a different view on what god was to them.
I would re-enrol my kids in a heart beat if I knew the program was going to be a balanced view of all religions with no one pushing their own opinion (which the santa incident was classic example). Sadly this does not look like it will happen any time soon


#15 BobTony

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:25 AM

QUOTE (epl0822 @ 05/02/2013, 03:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it's really sad when atheist parents insist on keeping their kids in ignorance about all religions (in fact, I think it's really narrow minded) because we live in a world where lots of people's choices and decisions and politics and such are influenced by religion. You also understand history and other cultures a lot better when you have a basic grasp of religion.

A friend of mine knows more about the bible than anyone I have ever met. He is an atheist. I know other athiests who know a great deal more about the Quran than many adherents to Islam.

I would be happy for DD to learn about religion. What I would not be happy with is DD coming home in tears because some bigotted auld witch told her that people who don't believe in God get sent to the burning fires of hell, as happened to one friend of mine, or being asked, nastily, why you celebrate Christmas when you dont' believe is Jesus, as happened to my sister.


#16 tazcan

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:31 AM

QUOTE
went to a Christian school and my RE teacher was adamant that RE classes would be, literally, a religious education - so we learnt about several major religions across the world. It was fascinating to visit a mosque and learn about the major tenets of Islam from an imam, then discuss afterwards what was true/false about the perceptions we previously held about Islam. We also learnt what distinguished the different denominations across Christianity and about Buddhism etc.


Funnily enough I went to a religious school and the RE lessons there were far less preachy than DDs public school. They were run by a qualified teacher and even though they were based on Christianity there was no preachy whatsoever involved. Whereas at DDs school I think it is someone from one of the local churches around running Sunday School type of lessons and preaching to the kids. Very sad as I would have been happy for DD to learn about religion at school but now I have to withdraw her.

#17 Lucretia Borgia

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:31 AM

Yes, RE in public schools in NSW is not comparative religion...they learn that as part of the normal syllabus (which is great) ....RE is religious instruction ...at my sons school they split it up into "Anglican scripture", "catholic Scripture" and there is a yr two boy who  does "Jewish scripture" .....it's not comparative at all...if it was they wouldn't need to split it up!

My son does "non scripture" which is colouring in....

#18 Bunsen

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:43 AM

I spoke to the Catholic scripture teacher at DS's school and it is clear that the aim is to preach rather than educate so have opted DS out of the classes. I would welcome an actual educational program teaching about all different religions, history, social context etc but as this isn't offered it is something we will have to cover at home.

I have no objection to him taking part in religious education eg today is Yom Kippur, Easter, whatever- with an explanation of who celebrates it, what the customs are etc but I do object to him being told that a religious belief is the absolute truth and there are consequences for your soul if you don't believe.

DS is in FYOS so the half hour a week wasted while not in scripture doesn't overly concern me, next year he can join the ethics program.




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