Creating Our Homeschool Vision Statement
When I first started this homeschool adventure, I spent several days crafting our homeschool vision.
I’m really glad I took the time to do this.
When I feel overwhelmed, like we’re not doing enough, or worried that I can’t squeeze in all 27 “essential” pre-k subjects (<– irony), it really helps to re-read this to give myself a reality check.
Goals for Learning
Before I tackled our homeschool vision, I spent some time coming up with a list of all the skills, knowledge, and values I wanted my kids to have when they leave our care at age 17/18/32 (oh please god, not 32).
That exercise helped me realize that I care more about teaching big-picture values like kindness, responsibility, curiosity, and initiative rather than multi-variable calculus.
I also realized I cared a LOT more about practical skills than hard facts.
Don’t get me wrong, I think kids need essential facts to make sense of the world and to put current events into context.
But I’d rather my kid knows how to apply for a student loan or how to navigate the healthcare system than be able to recall all the minutiae of the War of 1812. I mean, it would be great if they could do both, but I put more value on the practical stuff.
(Disclaimer: I don’t remember the specifics — or even many of the generalities — of the War of 1812, despite all my fancy AP History classes.)
Our Homeschool Vision
With that intro, I wanted to share our family’s homeschool vision. This is the list that I look at when I feel overwhelmed.
- In our homeschool, we strive to promote family relationships, connection, joy, curiosity, fun, and adventure above table work.
- In our homeschool, we believe that play and reading are more important than formal lessons or checking the boxes off on a curriculum.
- In our homeschool, we strive to have plenty of white space and downtime to allow for creativity, play, and spontaneous exploration.
- We believe that self-designed science experiments and spontaneous explorations are of higher value than planned activities.
- In our homeschool, we refuse to let a boxed curriculum or a to-do list get in the way of the most important subjects: play, reading, art, being outside, and enjoying family time.
- In our homeschool, we believe lesson plans are a tool to support and expand our knowledge, not something to be slavishly followed.
- In our homeschool, we believe life skills like cooking, caring for each other, managing our emotions, and taking care of our bodies are equally important as math and phonics.
- In our homeschool, we refuse to get stressed out over falling behind or keeping up, or worrying what others think of our life choices.
- In our homeschool, we value art, music, nature, and culture as much as math, science, and reading skills.
- As a homeschooling parent, my job is to provide enough structured table work to make sure the basics are covered, but not so much that it gets in the way of our higher priorities of fun, adventure, and connection.
- It is my job to provide lots of outside learning opportunities, like field trips and travel and nature walks.
- I want to create a cozy, soothing, supportive, fun, and creative environment that prioritizes family time, creative pursuits, beauty and wonder, curiosity, and adventure.
Create Your OWN Homeschool Vision
I encourage you to set aside a quiet couple of hours where you can jot down your own ideas.
What do you want your homeschool to look like? What kind of education do you want to shape for your kids?
(Note: this exercise works equally well for traditional school kids, because we’re teaching our kids every day, even if they go to a formal school part of the day.)
But most importantly — and I’ll crib from Kara Anderson — how do you want your homeschool to feel?
Try asking yourself these questions:
- What would an ideal homeschool day look like to you?
- How much time do you want to spend on planning and prep?
- What are your family values?
- What are your dreams for your kids as adults? What kinds of opportunities do you want available to them?
- How do you want your kids to feel about school? About learning? Are those different?
- What is unique about your kids? What are their passions? How could you nurture those gifts?
- What do your kids struggle with? How can you help them and support their growth?
- What do you need for your own mental health? What do YOU want to learn about?
- What is your planning style? Do you like everything spelled out for you, or do you like the flexibility of making your own way?
- What is realistic at this stage of your life? (Toddlers/pregnancies/health challenges/work responsibilities?)
I could make a fancy printable for you to write down your thoughts, but this isn’t complicated.
Step 1: Open a Word doc or paper journal. Start writing.
I love Scrivener, and I keep a Scrivener project just for personal thoughts and journaling where I can sort my musings into categories or folders (homeschool/work/goals/etc.).
Step 2: Distill.
When you have your thoughts collected, whittle those down to a few bullet points. Feel free to plagiarize mine for your own family’s use.
Step 3: Talk it over.
Share your list with your partner and your kids, if appropriate. Get their input and make any tweaks as needed.
Is everyone on board?
You’ll know you’ve hit jackpot when reading through your list inspires you and motivates you.
You’ll get that little whisper, deep down — Yes. This is us.
Step 4: Post your homeschool vision somewhere visible.
I keep our homeschool vision in our homeschool binder. It’s the first page, and I can see it through the cover of the binder.
You can write yours on poster board and put it in your schoolroom. Make it your desktop backdrop or screensaver. Put a copy in your wallet.
Review it regularly — whenever you need a boost, some re-centering, or just a reminder. And don’t be afraid to tweak it as your life (and your kids) change.
What is your homeschool vision?
I’d love to see your own homeschool vision statements. Share in the comments or tag me on IG at @simple_tender_joyful.
Let’s love our homeschools, right?