I believe the first thing to consider when planning your homeschool year, even before deciding on what programs and resources to use, is what your long term vision is for homeschooling. What is the worldview you want to build into your children’s hearts? What purpose does homeschooling have in achieving this?
Home education should ideally equip your children for the life God has purposed for them to live.
So for your family: does that mean focusing more on practical areas than academics? Does that mean a strong focus on living education and experiences, and less on text books? Does it mean scripture memorisation and discipleship ‘outside’ of daily bookwork, so they can cultivate their own faith without it being an add-on or a school subject? What are the most vital aspects that define you as a family?
Setting a Vision
Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs (29:18)
I believe your starting place is found in prayer, and in seeking out a vision for your family homeschool. A vision will serve as a beacon of light to keep you on track… because there will be times when you feel you’ve lost your way.
Your vision is a ‘living’ document, that will change and grow over the years you homeschool. It is something you can keep in front of you; a way of having agreement as to your direction as a family.
Homeschooling is essentially part of parenting. So consider how you will use the vehicle of homeschooling to serve your family’s vision.
Writing it Down
Start with writing some words down that are important to you. What are your family values? What is the most important thing you want your children to finish their education with? What do you want them to have in their ‘toolbox’ and why? Who do we want to ‘be’ as a family, and to those around us?
Here are a handful of words to serve as prompts as you write your own vision:
Why Are You Homeschooling?
I’ve written our reasons down here. What are yours? Having this list has reminded me on tough days why it’s worth it. Write down yours as well, and consider putting somewhere that you can refer to when you need to deal with doubt, inadequacy and just plain exhaustion.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6: 5-7
Your Unique Children
Can I encourage you to keep a journal for each of your children? Here are some things that you might like to record:
- Their favourite things
- Their strengths and areas of growth
- Their love language
- Introvert or extrovert?
- Visual, auditory or kinaesthetic?
- What are they naturally drawn to? Music? Art? Nature? Building things? Dance? Speaking? Hands-on and practical things?
- What the Lord has shown you about them, about their purpose, and about how to raise and disciple them (it will most likely be a little different for each of your children)?
I hope that gives you a great place to start. The main thing to remember is this:
Let the form and structure of your homeschool, and the resources and curriculum you use, follow your family vision and the uniqueness of your children.
What are some of the reasons why you decided to homeschool?