“Why do you homeschool?” That is a question homeschooling families can’t avoid. Early in our homeschool journey, I would flounder when asked and throw out a random answer.
“So that we can be the greatest influence in our kids' lives.”
“To strengthen our family”
“Because I know my child best.”
“So our kids can learn freely about God.”
We had decided to homeschool even before our oldest daughter was born. We felt it was best for our family. I had taught school for a few years and knew that I didn't want our children to attend school. There were lots of reasons in my heart for homeschooling, but I couldn’t verbalize them clearly when people asked.
I realized that I needed a concise answer when people asked, “Why do you homeschool?” I didn't necessarily need it for the benefit of the person asking. I needed a firm answer to gain confidence about our decision to educate our children at home.
Mike & I needed to clearly define our purpose. I had read a book explaining how to write a mission statement for homeschooling. So, we committed to developing a Purpose Statement for our family's education. During a weekend away, we completed exercises from the book. We sought the Lord and prayed for his guidance. We came up with a rough statement that has morphed over the years into this clear Purpose Statement.
Why We Homeschool
To guide our children to love God and others well and much
This means that our children need to know God and his principles. We need to instruct them with love and teach them about God’s love for us and his instructions for loving others. Character training is the foundation of our home education, and developing healthy, loving relationships is a priority. We know that our girls will have full and blessed lives if they know how to love the Lord with all their heart, souls and minds and to love their neighbors.
To nurture a lifelong love for learning and pursuit of purpose.
We desire that our children have a thirst for knowledge and that they realize learning is a lifelong process. God has a plan and purpose for each of our girls, and we want them to pursue that purpose. To guide them, we need to truly know them…to recognize their talents and passions. We need to allow them to explore and discover what interests them. And we need to allow them to make mistakes and grow from them. Just as importantly, we need to learn alongside them. Our children need to observe our learning processes as we pursue the purposes God has for us, too.
To teach our children HOW to learn and equip them with the tools needed for self-education
We don't “teach” our girls. We “facilitate” their education and direct them towards resources that fit their learning styles and skill level. That means that we need to be aware of the tools and resources available. And as the girls get older, we need to guide them towards finding the tools on their own.
Having an answer when someone asks “Why do you homeschool?” is not the only benefit of writing a Purpose Statement. These three WHYs are our guide as we make decisions about HOW and WHAT we learn. In fact, they even guided us towards a decision to enroll one of our children in school. [You can read about that decision in “When Homeschooling Doesn’t Work (for just one of your kids)”.]
So, how about you, my friend? Why do you homeschool? Have you written a Purpose Statement for your family’s home learning? I'd love for you share with a comment below.
If you want to write a mission statement, check out Vision for Your Homeschool: How to Write Your Mission Statement at Proverbial Homemaker. Tauna explains how to write a mission statement and provides links to other blog posts for inspiration.