Do you ever shake your head and realize you’re attempting to duplicate a school classroom right there at your dining room table? For a few, this is their goal, but for many it is actually the opposite. How about you?
Without a clearly defined purpose statement for your family’s homeschool, you may fall prey to the trap of other’s expectations. I encourage families who are just beginning to homeschool to determine their purposes for homeschooling before they begin anything else. IS duplication of the school environment one of your purposes? If so, then be sure you’re doing it. But if not, watch out for the little things that creep in and may steal away the beautiful privileges we homeschoolers have simply because we are NOT in a classroom.
“A way of life or style of living that reflects the attitudes or values of a person or group.”  Does your homeschool truly reflect your attitudes and values about homeschooling? Sometimes ours does, but sometimes it really doesn’t. One of the old habits we slip into is the “just hurry up and get it done” mentality. I value learning, comprehension, and mastery. The “hurry up and get it done” mentality values completion. I want our homeschooling lifestyle to reflect learning not just completion. The pressure to participate in extra-curricular activities and become too busy is another example. Now again, you may value something that is best accomplished extra-curricularly (is that a new word?) such as music, art, or a foreign language. But, sometimes we do a little of everything- a sport, an instrument, church’s youth program, lessons- and it all adds up to busyness instead of excellence. The pressure to “socialize”, especially for newer or transitioning homeschoolers, can lead to this over-scheduling. Do what you do as a way to reflect your values. Do what you do on purpose, not by pressure or inattentiveness.
If I could add to the definition stated above, I would include goals. “A way of life or style of living that reflects the attitudes, values, and goals of a person or group.” Aim for nothing, hit it every time. In order to develop an authentic homeschooling lifestyle, you must be aiming for something specific. Do you know what you’re aiming for? My life’s purpose is “Be a disciple. Make disciples.” One of my purposes in homeschooling is to support that life purpose of making disciples. So if my homeschool is solely focused on academics (to the exclusion of Bible and spiritual matters), or if we are not supplementing outside our homeschool during family life with spiritual food and nourishment, then I am not being true to my goal of making disciples at home. Take the time to determine what it is you are aiming for.
One of the practical ways that our family has a “lifestyle” of homeschooling is by not doing much school on Mondays. Pastor Daddy’s day off is Monday. Therefore for our family, Monday is like Saturday. Maybe you’re wondering then if the kids have to do school on Saturday instead? Well, so far, no. So many other things take place on Saturdays that it would be pretty difficult to maintain a regular school schedule. I plan our school year with a four-day school week. Homeschooling is a life-style. So, just because kids in school go to school 5 days a week does not mean that our family needs to have formal learning time 5 days a week. Conversely, if your children are small and you find that shorter learning times are more profitable, you might choose to have 6 days of shorter formal learning times. Do what you do on purpose. Develop your own lifestyle of homeschooling that reflects who your family is, what your family values, and what your family is aiming for.
If you could use help with honing in on YOUR family’s values, goals, and purposes, click here to learn more about working with a homeschool coach.