There are many, many ways to approach planning and I don’t even begin to claim to have all of the answers. Especially when I first began I poured over websites to see what others were doing and then, over the years, have tweaked the ideas to fit our family. I like to have a big picture that tells me “where are we going and how will I know when I get there” so I am going to start out the planning series with how I wrote our homeschool vision. This document is one of THE most important things my husband and I have done for our homeschool. It gives me direction and keeps me on course when I am teaching and planning.
When I first began homeschooling our daughter I really had only one main thought in mind. I did not want my five year old to get on the bus at seven in the morning and not arrive back home again until four in the afternoon. We decided to homeschool a year with the thought that if it didn’t work for us, we could always sign her up for Kindergarten as a slightly older six year old the next year. Instead, we loved homeschooling and God gradually showed us many, many other reasons that it was the right choice for our family. Now I can’t imagine having made any other choice.
The second year of our homeschooling adventure I wrote out a list by hand of what I wanted our children to be like and know when they were ready to leave our home. This list included things like “know the Lord as their personal Savior”, “be able to read and write well”, and “know how to be a good mother/father”. It wasn’t a very long list and it wasn’t “pretty” but I kept it in my binder and used it to help make decisions about what was important to teach.
I began reading books about homeschooling and attending conferences and reading tons of blogs. Eventually I came across the questions that I have included in my questionnaire for writing a homeschool vision. I made the questionnaire and then spent some time praying and finally answered the questions and had my husband answer them as well. Then I used our answers to create our homeschool vision.
If you haven’t written some kind of long term plan or vision for your homeschool I highly encourage you to do so. Whenever I feel like I am not doing something I should be doing, just because someone else is doing it, I can pull out my vision and read it. If the activity or curriculum or subject or whatever doesn’t match our homeschooling vision, it isn’t something that we need to do. It saves me so much time. I also look our vision over every year as I begin planning for the next year to make sure I am on track.
Next time I am going to talk about planning long-term goals for your homeschool. You can do this without your homeschool vision, but the vision statement really helps when you decide which goals are most important for your family.
If you would like to download a copy of the questionnaire and/or read through our homeschooling vision you can find them in this post.