During the Teach Them Diligently Convention that we attended a few months ago, I started to feel deeply convicted about how we’ve been homeschooling. By “we”, I mean mostly me :D The Man is a GREAT support and head of our home, but I’ve really been the one deciding what we’re studying, when, field trips, etc. He’s not been overly involved, but that has been my fault for not making room and opportunity for him. And it’s something I want to change (I’m sorry honey!).
One of the sessions at the conference was by Norm Wakefield on creating a vision – not just for homeschool, but also for family. He and his wife would come up with a vision for where they were going with their family and homeschool every 6 months, then implement it weekly, constantly communicating about their commitments, dreams, desires, studies, etc. This way they always knew where everyone was at spiritually, emotionally and whether they were over committing or missing some areas. I got so excited to see my hubby taking notes, and felt like this is something that has been hugely missing. I’ve just been flying by the seat of my pants from one thing to the next, lacking in direction and definitely focus, and not at all involving The Man.
What I would like to see happen is us sit down and discuss what our goals are for our kids – what they’re learning as far as academic studies go, but also our goals and desires for them spiritually. Do we want them to focus on certain character qualities and studies? Do we want them to be working on specific attitudes and disciplines? How can we fit this in to our daily life? Where are we falling short or struggling, either academically or spiritually, and what can we do to change it? How can we get more help in accomplishing our goals? Do they line up with what God would have us do?
I have also been feeling a lot lately that homeschool in general is looking too much like school at home. Deep down in my heart I know the reasons why we homeschool, but it’s been surfacing and exhibiting itself in a completely different way than we really desire. Homeschooling isn’t meant to emulate a school classroom, and look exactly like school does (just from home). We homeschool because we want to have flexibility in what we study, incorporating “delight” into direction – what the kids are interested in learning, with direction from mom and dad. It needs to be more about reading and roaming, encouraging and exploring creation, discipling and discovering, and less about finishing the books, doing worksheets, and completing textbooks.
We’ve lost some of the joy and purpose in our homeschool lives because we’re so focused on exceeding expectations, meeting requirements and doing well. I get it, some of you HAVE to up the ante because of regulations where you live – but don’t let that rule your day and take over the reason why you’re homeschooling in the first place. Go back to your heart and the root of the why!
This means we need to be making some changes. First of all, I want to more directly involve The Man in what we’re doing – not just filling him in at the end of the day, but asking him to lead our school year as well as our family. To have input on what we study, and to be my thermometer for when I’m doing too much and getting off track and need to cut back.
I also want to move toward a little more independent work with the boys (which we’ve already started somewhat), but instead of using 3 things for spelling, reading and writing, try to get it down to maybe 1 or 2 programs (any suggestions?!). We need to have more fun in our days, so this will mean planning ahead (gulp!) some activities, even if it’s just grabbing our nature stuff and going for a walk (in the rain, be a yes mom!). We consistently run out of time each day to get to the reading I always want to do, so I’m thinking about getting it done in the morning, or at least right during/after lunch so I’m not disappointing everyone by skipping it.