Previously I wrote how I felt that I was in control of our homeschool and how I had planned everything out just perfectly, yet struggled under the weight of it all. God doesn’t want us to strive for cookie-cutter children, rather He would have us prepare our children for an individual, definable life purpose. We try to recognise and identify each children’s natural (God-given) strengths, weaknesses, abilities, talents, interests and passions. From there, we can lean on God for direction in devising a flexible plan for developing our children as whole individuals with a purpose, for His service.
Early on we realised the immense benefit of home education but it wasn’t until a little later on that we came to see that homeschooling is more than academics… that it is a natural extension of God’s purpose for the family.
Some points that we consider and discuss:
- What is ‘family’?
- What things are important to us, as a family?
- What abilities and interests and concerns has the Lord given to us, as a family?
- What are some skills that we want our strong, capable child to have as an adult?
- What are the attitudes, character traits and information/knowledge that we want our children to have as adults?
- What are our educational, moral, spiritual personal, ethical, goals for our family?
- What direction has God shown us regarding us and our family’s ministry in His Kingdom?
- Do our aims line up with the Bible?
Our responses to these points will look different to other families. Our thoughts and goals are based upon personal conviction, values and calling. Whilst we believe our aims (goals) should always line up with the Bible, the practical outworking of them will look different to that of other families. See this video for more information about individuality within homeschooling.
We then go on to ponder:
- What is education? What does it mean to us?
- What is the purpose of our child’s education?
- What is wisdom?
- What is more important to us: knowledge or wisdom?
- How best can we meet the needs of our child?
This interesting exercise helps us to identify our family’s unique purpose. However, we’ve found that these questions really can’t be answered in quick, easy, mono syllabic words or sentences. They are rich ideas, encompassing our whole view of the world and everything in it. The ideas and thoughts meld together to form our family’s unique life purpose.
Now we focus upon each child:
Yesterday I shared how we observe each child’s:
- Strengths and natural ability and aptitude, also called talents
- Interests; what sparks their curiosity or desire to know more
- Their passions (things they would do if left to their own devices)
Now we have a big picture. We’ve identified our family’s goals and purpose. We can see what is most important for us and what is most worth our time and energy. Is it academics? Skills? Information or knowledge? Or relationships? Our family has a priority list of:
- relationships (with God, others and self) first, then
- skills and then knowledge.
One of our highest priority areas is to grow in wisdom, which only comes from God and falls under the category of ‘relationships’.
Now our Family Mission Statement is in place…the next step is writing it down. Have you developed your Family Mission Statement? I’d love to hear about it. Having your mission statement written down is one of the most important things I recommend. when times of hardship or difficulty come (and they do) we turn to our Mission Statement. This gives us direction, focus and motivation. We’ve also found it beneficial to include the children, especially once they are older. This in turn helps to shape their own view of the world, family and education. It’s important to be able to articulate why we do what what we do. Your family vision is part of that.