Vision, while difficult to form, is necessary for peace in homeschooling. If you have no vision, there will be no end to changing of curriculum, programs, or directions. Don't attempt to go to a homeschooling book fair, or you'll be sunk for good because you'll see the spectrum of marvelous options and feel like a failure because you're not achieving some magical perfection in your own homeschool.
It's taken me many years to fully develop my vision for homeschooling, but I am thankful for those who have gone before me and shared their wisdom with me. These articles represent some of the ones who have shaped my thinking and encouraged me along the way. I hope you are encouraged as well!
Vision in Homeschooling Beginnings
When I first started homeschooling, the idea of having a "philosophy of education" was something I avoided like the plague. It seemed lofty, unnecessary, and ambiguous. How would I go about forming something that I had no idea about how to articulate? Brandy Vencel shares three simple questions to point you in the right direction: Starting Off on the Right Foot: 3 Questions Every Beginning Homeschooler Should Answer. My favorite question is:
2. What is a child?
This is one of the most important questions we can ask, and because we’re dealing with education, we can’t avoid it. Bad curriculum is the result of wrong answers to this question.
Attending to the nature of that which you are attempting to educate should be thought through first and foremost, making this my 1st must read.
Vision in Homeschooling Realities
At the beginning, I had so many fears, misconceptions, and insecurities because I was venturing into unknown territory. I was homeschooling, but in my mind, we would have a miniature public school. I lacked vision, and we all struggled. Pam Barnhill beautifully uncovers the sweet realities of homeschooling in her article: Five Things Every New Homeschool Mom MUST Know. The one that most spoke to me was:
You will like being around your kids much more than you think you will
This actually became my favorite part of homeschooling: knowing and loving my kids. The relationships cultivated are a treasure, and these five things to keep in mind make this article my 2nd must read.
Vision in Homeschooling Purpose
I really thought homeschooling was about teaching subjects. What I found was that the bigger picture was teaching virtue. Mystie Winckler reminds us that the end goal is higher than mere head knowledge in her article: Virtue as the Goal of Education. Her words reawaken my heart's desire as she states:
Virtue is a fruit God grows in us through adversity. So even the small temptations to cry over math, to skim an assignment rather than reading to know, to play instead of write are opportunities to exercise our virtue muscles – and, praise God, the strength to follow through comes from Christ and not ourselves.
As virtue is at the heart of what kept me going after I thought I would "just give it a year," this article is my 3rd must read.
Vision in Homeschooling Time Management
One of the greatest lessons I've learned is that while there are endless amounts of amazing things to do, there is only limited time. If I over schedule my homeschool, I set myself up for failure. Sarah Mackenzie explains this beautifully in her article: I'm Not an Airplane. She wisely admits:
I’m a human person, with limited time, talent and energy. And regardless of where the vision takes me in my head, my feet are firmly planted on earth.
By budgeting our time, I have been able to teach restfully and that's why this is my 4th must read.
Vision in Homeschooling over the Long Haul
It is so easy to get lost in the moments and feel a failure when you don't have a long term vision in homeschooling. Sara Dennis shares her wisdom in homeschooling over the past 14 years in her article: 14 Important Homeschool Lessons Learned Over 14 Years. She encourages:
We need the vision to keep us on track during the hard and chaotic times.
There is such great wisdom in these 14 lessons that makes it my 5th must read!
So those are my 5 must read articles for developing a vision in homeschooling. What articles have shaped you the most?
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.