|So what is the goal of a pagan curriculum?
For me, the goal is... hmmm.... there was a recent discussion about how christian terminology and world view is assumed to be the norm. Regardless of a person's individual affiliation, it is assumed that certain phrases/gestures/dates will be understood in a specific manner. Speaking as an anthropologist, that sort of shared cultural history is totally normal. But I'd like to put together a curriculum that doesn't necessarily support this assumption. Not a curriculum teaches a child to "be a good pagan" (whatever that might be), but a curriculum that approaches subjects from a more open perspective in which the primacy of humanity, the maleness of the divine, the reification of gender/hierarchy, the whole "manifest destiny", etc is not assumed.
Right now I have a half dozen curric program brochures sitting on my table. And I spent the past month trying to find the right fit for our family from existing options. What stood out was the strong "christian" flavor of even the more "secular" options. Bible quotes next to math problems, devotions built into schedules, literature based programs that explain why non-christian books are "still relevant" to a christian student. Of course a parent can simply skip the devotions, leave the prayer cd in the box, ignore the bible verse in the math book, and add books that feature non-christian characters. But if you have to do all that, what's the point in getting the curric to begin with? And what about the assumptions built into these programs? A science text can be completely "secular" and still written from the assumption that human needs are primary... that the point of conservation is to maintain resources for humanity's future needs (you know, the ads that say "don't chop down the rain forests! there could be a cure for cancer in there!" instead of "don't chop down the rain forest. the trees belong to themselves, not to you.")
Tangent--anyone read the short story The Forest is Crying (by Charles deLint
)? One character (a burned out social worker) says he can't care about nature/conservation since there are so many suffering children and trees don't cry... and the other character (once a child saved by this social worker) replies that maybe he just can't hear them?
|"There's a big difference between some trees getting cut down and a kid dying." /skip/ "from our persective, sure, but maybe not from a global view. We have to remember that everything's connected. The real world's not something that can be dividied into convenient little compartments, like we'll label this, 'the child abuse problem,' this'll go under 'depletion of the ozone layer.'"
.- I'm a big fan of de Lint, and his worldview has had a real influence on me... I totally recommend his writing to people of all paths, but pagans I think may find some interesting/thought provoking/challenging ideas.--
Sorry, I'm rambling. I'm making dinner and the kiddos are going nuts while I bounce between stove/computer/play mat. Hopefully this made some
sense since I don't have time to edit for clarity! More later....