Homeschooling and Defining Education for Your Family
By Linda Dobson
Your child will invest a minimum of thirteen years getting her education, so why not make sure it’s your family’s agenda that guides it – your family values, your hopes and dreams, your family’s take on what it’s important to know – by getting into the habit of defining education yourself.
Your definition of education will serve as a road map as you and your family travel down the homeschooling road together. It will help guide your many decisions, saving you the time, money and energy you could waste rambling down an educational dead end.
Has This Happened In Your Homeschooling?
Carrie Morgan faced a dilemma that could happen to any learning lifestyle family. She was homeschooling two children and felt very unsure of what she was doing. When Carrie spoke to one parent, she loved the idea of what that family was doing so much she ran out and bought everything necessary to do the same. “Then I’d talk to another family and find out they were learning all about ancient Rome, and I’d drop everything else to do that because that was important for my children to know,” Carrie remembers. “Then my next door neighbor would innocently ask if my older child was reading yet, and I’d torture my poor little guy with six hours of phonics. It was like every time the wind shifted we’d blow in another direction until one day I decided that I needed to figure out exactly what it was I was trying to accomplish so I could accomplish it!”
Carrie spent several weeks pondering what constitutes a well-educated person. She wrote several pages, edited them, and then wrote some more until her definition was brief enough to hang on the family’s refrigerator door where they could all see it every day. Carrie felt an educated person would have, among other things, a deep and wide knowledge base to draw from and love learning enough to continute doing it throughout his lifetime. He would be able to communicate effectively, know how to find whatever information he might need, read well, and be math-savvy enough to at least take care of daily needs (with the hope for enough fascination to learn of math’s connection to the workings of the universe).
Education Definition Leads to Focused Homeschooling
“Having my list allowed me to focus our time, attention and homeschooling resources where they were most needed to accomplish these goals,” says Carrie. “It allowed me to put all the neat things other families were doing into perspective and to keep them in their proper place in ‘the big picture.’ I can’t tell you how much stress this relieved – it was liberating!”
Your definition need not be long or terribly fancy – in fact, the more succinct, the better. It should be honest; and don’t worry if it doesn’t agree with what you understand your child’s school’s goals to be. It should begin with the desired end in mind. And it should be flexible so that when you revisit it now and again after you begin living the learning lifestyle you may incorporate your inevitable new wisdom about learning, homeschooling – and your selves - into it.