How Intentional is Your Homeschool?
One of my earliest, and most difficult, lessons in faithfulness in my homeschool was a lesson in intentionality.
I had to learn that I can't actually be faithful in practice to what I haven't faithfully crafted. Randomly choosing resources, changing resources at whim, and basing my choices upon reviews or what my friend is doing are all things that led directly to my inability to be faithful in my homeschool.As I worked towards more intentionality in my homeschool, I had to encounter and navigate the following questions, and I revisit them yearly in order to ensure that I am actively engaged in crafting a homeschool, rather than simply stumbling into a schedule and a list of resources and "going through the motions." I now present these questions to moms as they attempt to evaluate their own intentionality in homeschooling, as thoughts to ponder during the journey towards imperfect, yet faithful, homeschooling crafted intentionally.
1. Do you know your philosophy of education, and do you know how every single item being used in your homeschool fits into that philosophy? *Your philosophy should be personal, and can be aligned with more than one major homeschool philosopher, but you *should* know what you believe about education and how you best think it should be accomplished. Your philosophy isn't a set of handcuffs, but rather a tether to keep you from blowing about wildly and being swept away by every wind of homeschooling trend.
2. Do you know the foundational philosophy of your chosen math curriculum, and how it meets your educational goals, or are you simply using what is easiest, most convenient, what you've always used, or what your friend uses?
3. Do you know what you believe about the acquisition of language, and how it fits into your overall philosophy of education? Did you carefully choose your reading, literature, poetry, spelling, grammar, composition, and foreign language resources based upon this philosophy and your educational goals or are you simply using what is easiest, most convenient, what you've always used, or what your friend uses?
4. Do you make choices on your schedule, your resources, changes, needs, books, and curriculum based upon your friend's experience with her family, the enthusiasm of an "influencer", or because someone who has homeschooled for longer than you insists that it is the best choice? Or, do you instead seek out the wisdom and hard-earned knowledge of several professionals who review curriculum and resources objectively, and make the understanding of philosophy their work and pursuit?
5. Do you have a deep understanding of exactly what you believe a person is, learning is, and the purpose of education is? (These are the things that an educational philosophy are built upon). Do you rely upon this understanding to determine when you should stick with difficult things because they are contributing to your ultimate purpose and when you should drop books or resources because they don't fit your long-term goals?
6. Do you spend time praying over your decisions and do you ask God to make you faithfully obedient in the work that He has given you?
7. Do you stay the course when you should and pivot when you should and do you know the difference?
8. If I asked you why you're using _____________ (insert any resource or book here), could you easily tell me exactly why you've chosen that particular book or resource and how it fits into your educational philosophy?
9. If I asked you why you have __________(insert any lesson here) scheduled at this time instead of this time, could you easily tell me your intended purpose in that scheduling choice?
10. Do you have a long view of each subject in your homeschool, holding those plans loosely and adapting as needed, but having some idea of what you intend for your child's education to look like over the coming years?
Your instincts are God-given, Momma, and they should never be minimized. You should rely upon them, trust them, and make use of them. But, your instincts are honed and perfected when you are intentional about every aspect of your homeschool. It is a great investment to think deeply about every aspect of your homeschool, but it is a worthy investment. Not only is it a worthy investment, it is your rightful duty. There is abundant grace in home education, and you should know that God will make more of your homeschooling efforts than you are able to achieve on your own. But, homeschooling is also God's work for you, and investing in it profoundly is a rightful response to His calling upon our lives to educate and raise children for His kingdom.
A faithful homeschool is an intentional one. You can't be faithful to what you haven't intentionally pondered, planned, and prepared.
Every aspect of your homeschool should serve your intended purpose, and you should be absolutely clear about what your intended and ultimate purpose is.
Be intentional in your homeschool, friends, so that you can be faithful within this holy work. For a free, printable version of the above questions, along with a tool for evaluating your own homeschool intentionality, visit the Tools and Freebies section of the shop.