Should kids learn RE?

Straight up, I’m not looking for a punch up.

I’m just curious to know what other parents think about religious education (RE) as a primary school subject.

To me it’s just another subject that I feel is important for my children to learn about, regardless of my beliefs or convictions.

They live in a world made up of so many different cultures and religions and I feel it’s important they understand that there’s a large chunk of the world that is devoted to a certain god or deity.

Just as there is an equally large number of people devoted to science and medicine.

It’s not a compulsory subject but I ticked the box when it was an option for my daughter’s second year at school.

A few months in she started questioning a few things she was hearing. Just after that she decided religion was boring and wanted to stop.

Now this is without any influence from me, for or against religion. I have always made a point of not airing my point of view.

I let her stop and now she heads off to another classroom with a bunch of other kids whose parents have not ticked the box.

But if you tick the box, how much religion do you expect someone to teach a 6-year-old? And what sort of messages are they being taught?

I feel that as long as she is aware that there are people in the world who believe that there is some sort of god then maybe that’s enough for such a young person.

As a parent I teach her not to judge others by what they believe in or what they look like. She knows that despite our physical differences: “we all have the same heart” – these are HER words.

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My experience with learning RE was different to what my children are going through because I attended a boarding school that was interdenominational.

I attended chapel EVERY morning before class, and then most Sundays I walked to church dressed in a kilt, blazer, tie, boater hat and stockings*.

You should see my mad tie-tying skills, I can whip up a Windsor in seconds.

Suffice to say I know a few stories about loaves of bread, locusts and don’t even get me started on da hymns I know.

Kids aren’t born racist, judgmental or with any sort of religious conviction, they are taught it from society, school or their parents and peers.

As a parent with three impressionable souls to raise, I want to do so in a mindful and respectful way.

I also don’t want to influence how they think or what they believe in. But when kids are so young they often take on the beliefs of their parents, rightly or wrongly.

I feel it’s a fine line we tread, and every day we must be mindful of what we do or say in front of our kids, especially when it comes to religion.

 What is your opinion on kids learning RE at primary school?

Do you put your religious or non-religious beliefs on them or are you letting them make up their own mind? 

If you didn’t tick the RE box, why or why not?

 * Lemons were thrown at me by random kids when I walked to church because they thought I was a ‘snob’ in what I wearing.

Comments

  1. I went to a Catholic primary and high school and religion played a big part in my early years. My Dad was/is Catholic and non-practising, so my non-Catholic mum took us to church every once in a while. As a child, I was fascinated with religion. I even wanted to call my first born twins Mary and Joseph. Religion helped me get through some tough times in my life too. In high school, I elected to do a subject which focused on all of the different types of religions in the world. It was fascinating. I want to give my children the same opportunity and same exposure to religion. If they like it great, if they’re not interested no big deal. Great post.

  2. Unless you are at a religious school, I don’t think there is a place for a dedicated religion at school. Yes a course or two introducing a number of different religions but I think for the most part religion is something left off the school curriculum. Can you tell I went to a Catholic school and had religion forced down my throat for far too many years?!

  3. I grew up with no religion in my life at all, except for the basic RE classes at primary school, which were pretty ordinary. We’ve always told Bell that karma is our form of religion, and if you want good to come to you, you need to put it out there.
    Her school has no RE, but I’ve always answered any questions she has on religion, and encourage her to be curious about all religions.
    Absolutely agree that it’s our job to raise them to be mindful of others’ beliefs Em xx

  4. I’m happy for my girls to learn RE at school as long as it’s not at the detriment of anything else.

  5. I understand if it’s a religious school, religious education will be part of the curriculum. However, when it’s a public school, I often wonder which religion they teach. I don’t have kids so I’m clueless here but rather than segregating kids into the different religious groups, they should perhaps teach them about all religions. That, I think is fine. I studied religions in Social studies and later, in sociology and found it fascinating. It also made me realise that I don’t want to be religious. I would prefer that kids are taught ethics and morals over religion though and the family can take over the religious education as they want.

  6. We could have almost gone to the same school…..except I had to wear a beret! My kids started doing ‘non-denominational’ religion at school because I thought it would be good for them to learn about all the different faiths that people follow. Sadly they only taught the Christian perspective so after awhile they stopped. They are good well-rounded teens now and I think they show respect for everyone, regardless of race or religion etc.

  7. I think the education system should include a religion subject but not as it currently stands where if you learn religion you learn A religion. Religion plays too massive a role in the world that we live to be ignored. To have a better understanding of different beliefs I think it shouldn’t be missed entirely but provided on an unbiased level…if that is possible.

  8. Its such a personal choice I guess. We chose to send our kids to a catholic school. It wasnt really anything to do with the fact that it is Catholic, but I liked that it was a small community and it teaches them something, a foundation I guess you could call it and they can take it from there. I am not really religious and nor is Carl and we tend to cherry pick the good from many religions and use them as our ideals. I honestly dont care if my kids grow up to be Buddhists or Atheists.. just so long as they respect the belief of others. I think it is good if they use an ER class to expose kids to as many faiths as possible. That would be my perfect win for all xx

  9. This is a really interesting topic in our modern society. I think it’s a bit sad that RE isn’t taught at many schools anymore but I also understand the complication of it too with kids with so many religious backgrounds attending. The segregation can start right there if numerous RE’s are offered for the different religions. Unless they attend a religious specific school, I think it would be good if kids could be taught about different religions and perhaps the common morals or ethics that underlies all of them. If that exists. Kids can then make their own choices and understand individual religions more instead of making uninformed judgements which are probably adopted from their parents.
    With that said, I’m Christian and it might come as a surprise to hear that I go to church each week and our Little Vick happily goes to Sunday school and is taught all things Christian. We would never force him however and one day I’m sure he’ll refuse to go and we will respect his decision. We won’t send him to a Christian school or mind about his lack of RE education there because he is getting it elsewhere but I think it’s a shame other kids who have no religious experience may not ever have an introduction ever and have the choice.

  10. I might have somewhat sounded contradictory in my last comment….

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