Studying Major World Religions in Your Secular Homeschool

Welcome to Favorite Homeschool Resources—a series sharing our best-loved secular books and workbooks. You can view all the posts in the series so far here.

Even if you are homeschooling from a secular perspective—perhaps especially if you are homeschooling from a secular perspective—your students will benefit from studying major world religions. 

Learning about other cultures and worldviews increases empathy. One does not need to believe the stories to be true to gain wisdom from them.

Of course, there are so many different doctrines it would be impossible include them all. For this post I will focus on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism. 

{You may also want to check out Why Everyone Should Study World Religions.}

Lit light blue candles arranged in a wooden box. Text reads: Studying major world religions in your secular homeschool.

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Overview and Common Questions

The Kids Book of World Religions 
Really Big Questions About God, Faith, and Religion 
What Do You Believe? 

If you need a more general introduction to belief systems and want to learn some basics about the major faiths currently practiced today, these books would be a good start. Most tend to emphasize the six world religions primarily addressed in this post, but they include information on others as well. 

Learning about other cultures and worldviews increases empathy. One does not need to believe the stories to be true to gain wisdom from them. Click To Tweet

Familiar Stories

Traditional Religious Tales: Buddhist Stories 
Traditional Religious Tales: Christian Stories 
Traditional Religious Tales: Hindu Stories
Traditional Religious Tales: Islamic Stories 
Traditional Religious Tales: Jewish Stories
Traditional Religious Tales: Sikh Stories 

This series from Anita Ganeri quickly became one of our favorites. I love that she presents the stories without giving more “weight” to a particular set of tales. I have found it to be quite common in many world religions books for kids—even ones that purport to be completely secular—that the Christian stories come across with more authority, intentionally or not. You will not find that here. These books perfectly introduce the various mythologies without bias.

Long bookshelf that seems to fade into the distance with hanging lights in front of it. Text reads: Talking about world religions with kids, suggested readings.

Through the Eyes of a Child 

This Is My Faith: Buddhism 
This Is My Faith: Christianity 
This Is My Faith: Hinduism 
This Is My Faith: Islam
This Is My Faith: Judaism 
This Is My Faith: Sikhism 

This series by Holly Wallace discusses the main rituals and practices of different religions as told by a young child {around ten years old} being brought up in that faith.

Key Religious Figures

Buddha 
Buddha Stories 
The Dalai Lama 
The Fantastic Adventures of Krishna 
Jesus 
Mary 
Muhammad 
St. Francis of Assisi 

This is a sample of works by the author Demi. The illustrations are amazing and the information provided is thorough. We have also enjoyed her books about historical figures and folktale retellings.

Festivals and Celebrations

Buddhist Festivals Throughout the Year 
Christian Festivals Throughout the Year 
Hindu Festivals Throughout the Year 
Jewish Festivals Throughout the Year 
Muslim Festivals Throughout the Year 
Sikh Festivals Throughout the Year 

Another series by Anita Ganeri we have enjoyed. These texts include information about holidays, rituals, prayers, songs, and more.


Who Was Books

Who Is the Dalai Lama? 
Who Is Pope Francis?
Who Was Jesus? 
Where Is the Taj Mahal? 
Where Is the Vatican? 
What Are the Ten Commandments? 

These books are always a hit around here. As with most of the series, the reading level is mid to late elementary school, but my middle schoolers still enjoy them. 

{Did you know they also offer lesson plans as well?}

I would love to know what other resources you have used when studying major world religions in your homeschool. Leave any suggestions you have in the comments. And don’t forget to check out the other posts in our favorite homeschool resources series.

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