This month, The Canadian Schoolhouse has focused on giving you information about the homeschool laws in different provinces. I have next-to-no provincial laws to follow here in Ontario, for which I do feel fortunate. (It feels good not to have restrictions or rules hanging over my head, controlling my record-keeping and planning.) However, the minimal provincial requirements do mean that I have to be very self-disciplined in order to ensure that I’m giving my boys a stellar learning experience—at least by my standards.
I’ll admit that I’ve sometimes gotten a little off course when I haven’t made any effort to plan ahead or keep some type of record to analyse their progress. I am never at a loss for ideas and tend to hear of new and enticing learning opportunities every week. I’ll even admit that I sometimes get distracted by all the options, leaving me with the need to refocus on what really matters to me and what seems to be in line with what God’s plan is for my boys.
In the past, I’ve kept a few “rules,” or plans in my head, as I write our learning tasks for the day and when I’ve outlined our eclectic mix of learning books, websites and activities we use. But now I’m ready to move on to a different and slightly more detailed vision of learning in our home.
Why Create a Vision for Your Home Learning?
There really are so many great resources for learning. Ask a homeschooling friend, search the Internet, go to a homeschooling conference or read a homeschooling book—and you’ll get many possibilities to consider. Although not every option that you’ll see will be the right fit for your children, some of them will intrigue you enough to research further how well it would fit with your family values, your children’s learning styles and your budget.
But if you’re anything like me, you’ll get a bit distracted by the variety of good choices—meaning that you too will want to keep in mind (and on paper) a vision of what your children need for their learning experience. For me, last fall was my season of trying new curricula, discovering new learning websites (mostly great free resources) and noticing the differences in the way my two boys learn. I began to realize that I need to be a bit more intentional with what I’m providing for my boys. I’ve got a great purpose and vision in my head, but I believe there is something powerful in writing down what you want to see in your life and making it more like a vision to follow so you can see the powerful results of purposeful action!
I’m a regular goal-setter in almost every area of my life. I have what I call my “Dreaming and Planning Book” where I write down what I want to see in the different areas of my life and what I feel God’s vision is for me. Then I get down several action points on a separate piece of paper for what I want to be doing and achieving each month to make that vision happen.
But the one area where I haven’t been doing this is in my homeschooling life. For whatever reason, I’ve never done this intentional visioning for the values I want to be instilling, the learning experience I feel they need, and the overall life I want to see them live out. I know that if I got all those ideals down on paper, I could be much better at raising up my boys in the way they should go—the way that God has created them to go.
My Hey Mama Planner from The Old Schoolhouse couldn’t have come at a better time—almost like God delivered it to me to make sure I really got moving on this visioning for my homeschool. Right in this one planner, I can write down the daily to-do’s, outline the learning resources for each of my sons and fill out those pages for Yearly Goals and Semester Goals. Then with some of those lined Notes pages, I’ll get down the values that are important to instill, some areas that each of my boys need special attention in, their areas of strength and finally some of the ways that they can grow mentally, spiritually, emotionally and socially.
Just like the vision I’ve written down for all the other areas of my life, I know that I’ll change it as time goes on. I’ll get more clear on what really matters and discover new things about my boys, and undoubtedly come across new experiences in learning that I’ll just have to try… after I’ve compared it to our overall learning vision.
As a starting point for your homeschool vision, just write down a couple of sentences about what you want your children to achieve as a result of their home education. (Think along the lines of how a business will create a vision, with a mission statement for the purpose of being in business.) What’s your purpose in being a homeschool parent?
Get a blank-lined book or planner, the Hey Mama, or another style of planner that you can use for all your homeschool visioning and planning. Make this book unique to you and your family but use some of the ideas I’ve shared above if you need some direction to start with. Whether you need to provide records and learning plans to comply with provincial laws or not, make a vision for your family learning time that incorporates your personal convictions on why you homeschool.