When you homeschool it is important to have a plan. It is always helpful to know where you are going – and how you are going to get there. When you allow your whole life to be an educational experience there is a danger in wafting from activity to activity. This would not be a discipleship model.
Intention, Direction and Accountability
God has given us the responsibility to train our children and we don’t take that lightly. We are therefore very intentional and directive in where we expect our family to go in their education. And when I say “education” I mean that we are intentional and directive in every area of their life:
- their body
- their mind
- their spirit
- their emotions
- their life skills
- their talents
We are educating their whole person.
Peter and I have worked together over the years to write down the goals we have for our family – what we want our family to be characterised by. Many good opportunities come our way but if they are not in keeping with our family goals and directions they are just good opportunities. I want to live my life, and train my children to live their lives living God-opportunities and not settling for good opportunities.
The first step of our plan is written in our Family Statement. As we have developed this over the years it can be summarised by four key character traits we want for our family:
These character traits are to be the bottom line assessment of our days.
I would encourage you to write a Family Statement. Our full statement is more than these four words – and initially yours would be longer as well. It is over the years, as we have become familiar with the statement and it has become a foundational corner in our decision making, that we can summarise it to these four words.
The next step of our plan is written along the lines of Required Learning:
God (includes reading His Word, the Bible)
Relationships (God, Family and others)
Once again this list is part of our assessment of our days. It directs our decisions as far as our daily schedule goes and it directs our choices of curriculum. This is a priority list – spending time with God every day is a priority and if that is all that happens in that day I will be happy.
If you think carefully though you will see that these five areas overlap. For example when my children spend their daily time in the Word, they are reading, they are learning what is required of them (eg Character) which will in turn, affect the way they act towards others (Relationships) and so forth.
Our Intentional Homeschool Plan:
- We want our children to love and serve God, developing their own personal relationship with Him.
- We want our children to love and serve others – recognising that God has given us our family as the first priority.
- We want our children to live their lives, their words and their actions, to be reflecting Jesus. Therefore we teach Character Traits to help them flesh this out.
- We want our children to have the practical skills to serve others.
- We want our children to have first a broad base knowledge which gives them the ability to relate to many different people groups – be it ethnic, religious, social, academic, etc. Secondly we want them to have a specific knowledge that prepares them for God’s specific calling at a later stage in their life.
Do you have an Intentional Homeschool Plan?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are the things that are the most important to you?
- What do you want your children to look like at the end of your Disciple-ing time with them?
- Consider all aspects of your life – what do you want them to emulate?
- Consider the things that you hold dear in your life – what do you want them to participate in?
- Consider the things that you have learnt since you left school – what do you want them to achieve?
- As you write your own plan, it will take time. It will be a learning curve for you, as you get to know your own philosophy, as you get to know your own desires and as you get to know your own children. Even if you start with what seems to be a small concept write it down and build your plan from there.
Just because we don’t use the word school we still need to be intentional, directive, and accountable as we disciple our children.
We are told to Train up a child, Prov 22:6. Believing that God has made each child with a unique plan helps us to know which way to train them. This is taken into consideration with our Discipleship Method.
For all the most important things in education we have an inside track,
since we reckon with the whole person, including heart and soul.
– Ruth Beechick,
A Biblical Psychology of Learning (1982)
In keeping with our desire to Disciple our children we created the Discipleship Scope and Sequence which is consistent with pursuing wisdom, being a life-long, independent learner and living life and learning with your family.
It must be highlighted that we initially plan for our Family, not for our schooling. This is an important distinction, whether you keep your children home or not, God has given you the responsibility for your family and you need to know what is important to your family; what are your family values, what are your family goals and how are you going to achieve them. So often we set goals for financial freedom and expected family vacations but this type of planning goes much deeper.
Where there is no vision, the people perish:
but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Prov 29:18
- What do you want your life to be characterized by?
- What do you want your children’s hearts to look like?
In order to carry out this responsibility properly we need to have a plan; we need to know what is important to instruct our children. Without this we will grab hold of the latest, most exciting, most promising deals out there and not reach our goals as we flit from idea to idea.
Over to you:
Do the things that you do in your homeschool day, support your overall intentions for your children? Or is it busy work, ticking boxes?