Creating a Homeschool Vision
If you asked me before I had children if I would one day stay home and homeschool them, I would have given you a very quick answer: “Absolutely not!” I have always been a huge supporter of public schools - after all, I grew up in a relatively poor, underperforming school, and I turned out just fine. I may not have been the smartest kid in the state, but I had an appreciation for people different than me - and I thought that was the most important thing about school. Of course I’ll send my kids to public school!
And yet when I had children, I couldn’t help but wonder what life might be like if we chose to homeschool. I’ve shared part of that story before - along with why we chose the Charlotte Mason philosophy to guide us in defining our curriculum over the years.
As we promised, we reassessed at the end of our first year, and made the decision to continue homeschool for the foreseeable future. This Charlotte Mason homeschooling life is so rich and full of beauty - and we just can’t imagine sending our children to learn in any other setting. That doesn’t mean there won’t come a time when we choose a year or more of public or private school - but for now, we are all in to this crazy homeschooling life.
There’s a lot of talk about “homeschool philosophies” - there’s even a quiz you can take to see what type of homeschooling model will fit you best. But there’s so much more to homeschooling than simply a philosophy. So, like any good visionary leader, I didn’t want to begin this all-in approach to homeschooling without a Vision and Mission Statement. Inspired by a sermon on “Family” this summer, I spent a good chunk of time trying to create a vision for homeschooling based around the following question:
I did a lot of brainstorming about why we wanted to homeschool, what our goals were for our homeschool days and years, and what our major influences were in creating curriculum and learning experiences. We want to homeschool because we long for a different pace of life than what we see in the world around us. We want family relationships to be more important than external ones. We want to engage in hard things together - to learn together - to love one another and the world around us.
We want our children to grow up to be confident but humble people. Independent but empathetic. Well-rounded Fine Arts lovers as well as mathmeticians and scientists. We want our children to see glimpses of God in the subjects that we study and the people that we meet.
After several days and lots of prayers, this is what we came up with for our homeschool vision.
Vision of Rowe Academy:
We will offer a different lifestyle than the one society pushes on us. We will embrace time together as a family. We will encourage tough conversations, forgiveness, encouragement, lifting one another up, cherishing our bonds with each other. We want our lives to illustrate our calling to live in this world but not of this world.
We will equip our children to become independent thinkers, with the ability to critically evaluate information they are given as well as empathize with people who live a lifestyle that may look different than their own.
We will enter into the mission of Christ in a way that the typical public school schedule does not. (We are still trying to figure out what this looks like. My dream is for us to find ways to engage in regular volunteering during the week, connecting with people who don’t look like us, being active in a community in an intergenerational way, etc.)
We will gift our children with an age-appropriate, faith-based, liberal arts education that spreads a feast of information. We will strive to craft a curriculum that acknowledges the importance of good literature, creativity, and art as well as science, math, and technology.
We will foster an environment of lifelong learning. We believe it’s just as important for the adults among us to engage in formal learning exercises as it is for the youth among us. We will engage in family learning activities, where we as parents model learning by example.
We’re nearing the “end” of our first formal year of schooling, and I love that I have this vision statement that I can turn to when I’m evaluating how the year went, and what I want to do differently next year. It’s incredibly helpful for me to keep it posted near my computer, so that when I plan each term, our vision stays front and center. Because we spent the time to create this big picture of what we want homeschooling to be about in our family, I feel more confident saying “NO” when opportunities arise that might not fit in with the vision we have for our children’s education.
This was a fun exercise for me, and one that I encourage you to spend some time thinking about in your own homeschool planning sessions. I’m no expert in homeschooling - but I am the closest thing to an expert in my family. And that, my friends, is all you need to come up with your own homeschooling vision.
So tell me … what IS your homeschool vision?