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Homeschooling Resources

We have a lot of resources to help children learn about humanism. Our resources allow children to explore and discuss their own beliefs and values – and consider their own approach to life’s big questions.

The below resources are the most relevant ones from our Understanding Humanism site. We’ve also suggested some questions that might be appropriate to discuss with children at this unusual and difficult time. Click on the titles to get full details – including video, presentations, and lesson plans.

Jump to: Primary school activities / Secondary school activities

General introduction to humanism

Ages 5-14

What is humanism?: A general introduction to humanism. The presentations and accompanying notes introduce key humanist beliefs and values along with questions and quotes for discussion. The presentations include multiple-choice questions to check understanding. You’ll also find a number of short films in which humanists describe what humanism means to them.

Values: These resources provide children with an opportunity to explore the things that humanists value, strive for, and celebrate. They provide an opportunity for students to use what they have already learned about humanism to design a building that represents humanist values and the humanist approach to life.

15+

Humanist perspectives: We have a wide range of humanist perspectives on life’s big questions and contemporary moral debates which are of use to students aged 14-18.

Online courses: Sixth form students (and parents) might be interested in our free online courses which run regularly throughout the year and are a great way to engage in social learning with people from all around the world.

Primary school pupils: activities to explore big questions

Knowledge and belief: These resources provide children with the chance to explore how humanists decide what to believe. You’ll find resources to support younger children to explore what makes a good question, what kinds of questions have changed the world, and why curiosity can be a pleasure. Older primary school pupils can explore why our beliefs might sometimes be mistaken and what we can do to give our beliefs the best chance of being true. An activity will allow them to consider what does and doesn’t count as good evidence.

Relevant questions: Where should we look for answers to our problems? Who should we trust to provide answers on how we can keep healthy and safe? How important is science and evidence?


Ethics: These resources allow children the opportunity to learn how humanists approach questions of right and wrong. Through an exploration of different scenarios children can ask what motivations exist to do the right thing. An investigation of rules raises questions about when and why rules are useful, but also whether rules can ever be broken. There’s also the chance to learn about the Golden Rule (‘Treat others the way you would like to be treated’), a principle found all over the world.

Relevant questions: What reasons do we have to be good to other people? Should we have to make sacrifices in our own lives in order to protect others? Do we need religion to motivate us to do the right thing?


Meaning and happiness: These resources provide children with the chance to explore how humanists believe we can lead a good and happy life. You’ll find resources to support children to investigate the ingredients of a happy life. Are some things more important than others? How free should we all be to pursue what makes us happy? Can they write their own recipe for happiness?

Relevant questions: How can we keep happy during difficult times? What are the most important things in life?


Freedom and responsibility: These resources give children the opportunity to learn about the value humanists place on freedom, responsibility, and our connections with each other. By carrying out an activity which uses a piece of string to represent a human life, pupils will consider what is important in their own lives. They’ll explore how far our freedom should stretch and whether our connections with other people (our ties to other strings) restrict or enhance our freedom.

Relevant questions: Should we be free to do whatever we want regardless of the consequences on other people? How important are our connections to other people in our lives?


Atheism and agnosticism: These resources provide children with an introduction to the terms ‘atheist’ and ‘agnostic’ and the difference between them. Different activities will enable them to explore whether it is possible to prove something does or does not exist, what might make it more or less likely, and what might persuade us either way. One activity asks about the consequences of non-belief on our lives: does not believing in a god make any difference to our happiness or our capacity to be good?

Relevant questions: What difference might not believing in a god make to how we react or behave in difficult times?


Celebrations and ceremonies: Our resources on humanist namings and weddings allow children the opportunity to find out more about a humanist approach to life. Through considering how they might plan a naming ceremony or wedding, children will consider what is worth celebrating, what promises we should make to each other, what advice we can give on how best to live, how important other people are in our lives, and how free we should be to decide how we mark special events.

You’ll also find links to external resources and films on each of the above pages.

Secondary school students: activities to explore big questions

Knowledge and belief: These resources provide children with a chance to explore how humanists decide what to believe. Students can explore why our beliefs might sometimes be mistaken and what we can do to give our beliefs the best chance of being true. An activity will allow them to consider what does and doesn’t count as good evidence.

Relevant questions: Where should we look for answers to our problems? Who should we trust to provide answers on how we can keep healthy and safe? How important is science and evidence?


Ethics: These resources allow children the opportunity to learn how humanists approach questions of right and wrong. An investigation of rules raises questions about when and why rules are useful, but also whether rules can ever be broken. There’s also the chance to learn about the Golden Rule (‘Treat others the way you would like to be treated’), a principle found all over the world. You’ll also find a game that allows students to explore a range of different moral dilemmas and illustrates how different values can often come into conflict.

Relevant questions: What reasons do we have to be good to other people? Should we have to make sacrifices in our own lives in order to protect others? Do we need religion to motivate us to do the right thing? Are there always easy answers to questions of right and wrong?


Meaning and happiness: These resources provide children with the chance to explore how humanists believe we can lead a good and happy life. You’ll find resources to support children to explore what are the ingredients of a happy or meaningful life. Are some things more important than others? How free should we all be to pursue what makes us happy? Can they write their own recipe for happiness? Older children can investigate the question of whether life has some external, ultimate meaning or if meaning is something we make for ourselves.

Relevant questions: How can we keep happy during difficult times? What are the most important things in life?


Freedom and responsibility: These resources give children the opportunity to learn about the value humanists place on freedom, responsibility, and our connections with each other. By carrying out an activity which uses a piece of string to represent a human life, pupils will consider what is important in their own lives. They’ll explore how far our freedom should stretch and whether our connections with other people (our ties to other strings) restrict or enhance our freedom.

Relevant questions: Should we be free to do whatever we want regardless of the consequences on other people? How important are our connections to other people in our lives?


Life and death: These resources give children an opportunity to investigate the humanist attitude towards death and to find out what happens at a humanist funeral. You’ll find resources that help explore questions around whether, if we don’t believe in an afterlife, we should be scared of death, and how important it is to make the most of the one life we know we have. By imagining their lives as a river that flows out into the sea, students will be able to consider how their lives have changed, what other rivers theirs has connected with, and what they want to leave behind after they are gone.

(Warning: while these resources generally emphasise the positive approach to life taken by humanists, they touch on matters related to death. They can support difficult conversations around sensitive subject matter. However, parents may want to consider whether they are appropriate for their own children at this time.)

Relevant questions: Does an awareness that we only have one life to live help us to recognise that we need to make the most of it? How can we find ways to cope when someone close to us dies?


Atheism and agnosticism: These resources provide children with an introduction to the terms ‘atheist’ and ‘agnostic’ and the difference between them. Different activities will enable them to explore whether it is possible to prove something does or does not exist, what might make it more or less likely, and what might persuade us either way. There’s also the opportunity to explore humanist responses to arguments for the existence of a god, and the problem of evil (‘Why would a good god let bad things happen?’) One activity asks about the consequences of non-belief on our lives: does not believing in a god make any difference to our happiness or our capacity to be good?

Relevant questions: Does human suffering make it harder to believe in an all-good god? What difference might not believing in a god make to how we react or behave in difficult times?


Secularism and society: Here you’ll find a collection of short films explaining the humanist goals for a better world and the humanist support for secularism (a state in which no single religious or non-religious worldview is privileged in society and everyone is entitled to freedom of belief).

Relevant questions: Are we, as a society, better prepared to deal with crises today than we were in the past? If we are, what has driven the necessary progress? Can the absence of belief in a god or an afterlife be a positive motivating force to make things better in the here and now?

You’ll also find links to external resources and films on each of the above pages.

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