If I could give you only one piece of advice about homeschooling, it would be to sit down and write out a careful list of your goals and your vision for homeschooling. On this page, you will find a very wide variety of possible goals, covering all aspects of life; choose those that will concisely cover your family’s needs. Admittedly, my Christian world-view is quite strongly reflected, but if your world-view or spiritual beliefs are different, please feel free to consider how the goals I have suggested might be adjusted to reflect your own position. I have started with a few suggestions on how to set goals, and how to create a vision statement for your homeschooling journey.
Realize also, that as your journey continues, you may find you have to fine-tune your vision statement, adjust some of the goals that you have created to fulfill that statement, and find alternative programs or approaches which will help you reach your goals.
Goal-setting How-tos: Determine what God wants you to teach your children, or what you consider most important to teach your children, and write it down.
Consider provincial/state and other regulations.
Set long-term objectives: year ahead; full educational career.
Set specific goals for long term objectives (referring to Scripture or basic documents reflecting your world view).
Prioritize short-term specific goals.
Explain both long- and short-term goals to your children, and seek their input.
Plan ahead an overall course of study for each child, remembering each child has different interests, talents, and needs.
Determine what methods and approaches you will use to meet your goals.
If you find you are not reaching a goal successfully, create a strategy to address it– provide motivation, break it down into manageable sub-goals, allow more time, focus on being “good enough” instead of always “best”, wait until the child is more mature, and finally reexamine the importance and rightness of the goal.
Creating a Vision Statement: Consider your dreams for your family.
Consider availability of both parents, adequate time, and interruption-free time.
What purposes has God given you and your children, or what are your personal purposes for your family– academic/intellectual, life skills, faith, emotional, character, physical?
How can you glorify the Creator in this endeavor?
How will your children’s education be preparation for what God wants to do through them?
Write a vision statement. Focus your actions and decisions. Compare all goals and schedules against the vision. Compare each child to the vision — strengths, weaknesses, attainments, problems. Review it with your children and get their input. Then post the vision and goals and review them regularly.
Core Knowledge: Cover a basic body of information that will allow our children to communicate effectively in our society, and allow them to make informed decisions. This basic information includes training in faith/ spirituality.
Bring the world to your children by studying all aspects of other cultures, including varying spiritual beliefs.
Family grouping versus age-segregation: Learn together as a family vs dividing into age- segregated grades (this is the scriptural pattern, BTW).
Be involved in the local community in such a way that “the whole village raises the child” — village being conceived in the traditional African culture (from whence comes the saying) as a large extended family rather than the institutions of our urban society.
Character building: Spend time observing and addressing character issues in the children: self-control, obedience, humility, honesty, unselfishness, integrity, self-motivation, self-discipline.
Strive to develop moral excellence and healthy attitudes.
Establish our children’s lives on Truth and Absolutes which lead to fulfillment and a personal knowledge of God; start when the child’s spirit is still malleable. Impose limits which shape the character, allowing it to expand when suitable to do so, and limit it from growing in directions that it shouldn’t. Aim to build character that doesn’t fall short of God’s plan.
Encourage our children to maintain their individuality. Teach our children to be organized.
Help our children to learn self-discipline; and to behave according to established standards and values. Develop confidence and independent thinking away from the peer pressure to conform and in the security of one’s own home.
While encouraging self-respect and confidence, teach the children to esteem the wonders of God’s grace by not esteeming themselves more highly than they should.
Teach our children to hold to a standard of excellence in all their efforts.
Train children in conflict resolution and asking and giving forgiveness.
Knowing God/spiritual life: Permeate all aspects of our lives with true understanding of God. Adoring God for who He is, makes obedience easier.
Academic studies become the means to the end result of better understanding God. Present all academic subjects from a biblical perspective.
First of all, raise our children to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind; to walk in His ways; to always serve and glorify Him.
Teach our children to respect and graciously tolerate the beliefs and faith of others, and to be willing to listen and discuss their viewpoints respectfully.
Prepare our children to be a positive Christian influence to society, and to share and defend their faith.
Provide our children with sound Bible knowledge. Teach them that the Bible is the only source of truth, and every other subject is defined, directed, and appraised by it.
Teach and model prayer; make it a part of the family’s daily routine.
Give our children a scriptural perspective of all aspects of their lives. Equip our children to reason from the basis of a Biblical world view.
Other subjects are important, but daily Bible learning is nonnegotiable. Ideally, the Father should be the primary Bible teacher.
To develop knowledge of God, as a family, read Scripture and pray daily. Encourage each child to read the Bible and pray privately. Protect our children from having their spiritual senses dulled. Introduce our children to friends who also want to know and serve God. And seek out opportunities to serve God by serving others.
Find out how the Lord wants to use who our children and we are, to accomplish His will and every setting and situation. This is the obedience that yields fruit. Put into practice the teachings of Jesus.
Help our children to find ultimate fulfillment, purpose, and meaning in life through our identification with Christ and the power of His Spirit.
Equip our children to reason consistently from a biblical world-view base as they grow in mind, body and soul, and help them find adequate answers to life’s basic questions.
Career preparation: Give our children the best available opportunities to prepare for the career/job they want.
Seek alternative career preparation methods including mentorship, apprenticeship, and on-job training.
Train our children in the habits, skills and attitudes that will last them for a lifetime of fruitful work in a suitable vocation.
Adult life: Prepare our children for a life, not just for a living. Prepare our children to be committed and Godly husbands and wives, and be strong, loving mothers or fathers.
Teach our children useful habits that will stay with them throughout life: healthy living, self-discipline, being on time, cleanliness, and so on.
Learn about what goes on in the world in order to be prepared to be a useful member of society.
Family: Aim to develop strong family teamwork, which can later lead to teamwork on the job, in learning, or other life experiences.
Develop a positive atmosphere of mutual love and respect in the home, which can be carried out into the world.
Aim to model for your children good character, disciplined habits, and enthusiasm for learning.
Control destructive influences; and protect the children from unsafe environments beyond the reach of the family influence.
Teach respect for parents as teachers.
Promote family unity, closeness, mutual enjoyment and time together.
Use flexible scheduling to accommodate parents’ work, vacation time, and activities.
Use curriculum that provides a Christian perspective and reinforces Christian family values instead of undermining them.
Learning Activities: Involve our children in a broad range of learning activities covering work, play, conversation, study, and service.
Provide many varied experiences to build background knowledge for academic learning.
Many subjects can be taught to several grade levels together. Older students can do much work independently while younger ones receive necessary tutoring in basic skills.
Child-centered education: Aim to be understanding of each individual child; sensitive to the child, recognizing and accommodating readiness, abilities, difficulties, personal interests, and learning styles.
Use a child’s curiosity, needs and interests to motivate learning.
Provide individual attention and meet the unique needs of each child.
Provide lots of opportunity and time to explore new interests, and to think.
Use tutorial, one-on-one, education to help each child achieve his full educational potential. Tutoring is more efficient than classroom instruction, taking less time.
Learning skills/Intellectual growth: Learn how to learn and to love learning.
Learn to think clearly and to use knowledge to become wise.
Learn to use time and energy wisely and to work well.
Aim to develop progressively higher skills of thinking, reasoning, problem solving; as well as study skills and independent learning skills.
Aim for mastery of foundational skills of reading, language, and math; demonstrated by generalizing from facts, and by applying principles.
Teach using connected knowledge: relationships between facts and concepts.
Train and influence children in all areas in an integrated way, just as life is integrated.
Require children to do readings, term and research papers; and essays to “think out and write out” their positions on things.
Learn how to use math and science in life and business. Teach our children to reason and to resist techniques of manipulation at all levels rather than to simply respond to socially engineered stimuli. Teach them to discern what thoughts and ideas are implicit in statements made through art, music, literature, science, or government.
Academics: Build a solid foundation for learning, with six basic skills upon which all other academic subjects are built: reading, writing, arithmetic, ability to make effective presentations, knowledge of computers, critical thinking.
Pursue the core of a basic liberal arts education: philosophy, science, physical education, history, literature, geography, law, government, economics, music, art, drama, foreign language.
Resources: Develop a good library of reference books, higher level textbooks, aids such as time lines, maps, globes, and videos, and a variety of manipulatives, educational games, and tools.
Life skills: Provide instruction in subjects beyond the traditional public school curriculum, including all kinds of life skills.
Provide training and direction in nurturing friendships, developing lifelong study habits and thinking skills, establishing good health habits and care, doing housework and household management, developing healthy relationships, building diligent work habits, gaining knowledge and wisdom for every area of life, learning decision-making skills, becoming good money managers, developing shopping skills, computer skills, practical job skills, arts and crafts skills, repair and maintenance skills, preparing for courtship, marriage, child-raising, and parenting, learning to set goals and complete tasks, and engaging in home business in preparation for future careers.
Learn to live healthfully and safely.
Social skills: Promote enhanced communication between different age groups.
Learn to communicate by good listening, good talking, good reading and writing.
Learn friendship and relationship skills.
Learn about our environment and how to take care of it. Learn kindness, courtesy, good manners, and other positive character traits.
Learn about other cultures to better understand the world and get along with other people.
Learn to be strong, kind leaders.
Learn respect for those in authority and for our peers.
Become personally fulfilled and publicly useful, thereby increasing the strength of and contributions to the health and stability of society. (BC Schools Act) Develop individual potential and acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to contribute to a healthy, democratic and pluralistic society and a prosperous and sustainable society. (BC Schools Act)
Teach our children to think of and serve others with grace and wisdom. This involves basic social mores, manners, and training in the fundamental relationships of family and marriage, positive relationships with those of your faith group and those of other faiths, and civic affairs.
Parents as teachers: You do not need to know everything in order to teach. Your example and enthusiasm for learning with your children will motivate and encourage them.
Model love of learning and exploration as an integral part of life.
Allow children to be involved in all kinds of adult activities with them.
Surround children with a rich environment of books and learning resources.
Respond attentively to children’s’ questions, interests, and concerns.