Getting Started Homeschooling Post 1- The Big Picture (or why I homeschool)

Here in post one of my getting started homeschooling series, I'm going to share with you what I think is the absolute most important part of your decision to homeschool. I am assuming if you are reading these posts with some interest that you have already decided to homeschool or at least are strongly leaning in that direction. Making the decision to homeschool is a big step and should involve much prayer and discussion between parents.

The big picture of homeschooling

Once you decide that God is indeed leading you to homeschool, and you and your spouse are in agreement, the next thing for you to decide is why. I call this "The Big Picture." Why are you homeschooling? What is your purpose? What is your end goal?

There are many answers to this question. Some people decide to homeschool because of the sad condition of the public schools their children are attending. Some decide to homeschool because private school is too expensive. Some want their children to be academically superior. Some have a special needs child that needs the one on one attention.

The way you answer this question will help to determine many things- your curriculum choices, your style of homeschooling, your extra-curriculur choices, how long you homeschool. There are many homeschoolers I know- and I have been one- who are not yet "comfortable" with their decision to homeschool. Even though they feel this is what God wants them to do, they seem to be searching for something. I think this is because they have not answered for themselves this fundamental question.

Let me share with you the way we have answered this question in our family and what that has meant about our homeschooling decisions. I'm not sharing because this is the "right"answer to the question. Your family's answer may be different from ours because of what God is leading you to do.

 We are homeschooling (1) because we believe this is the will of God for our family (2) because we believe we have a God-given responsibility to teach our children the ways of Lord as often as we can, not just in a few hours after school and on the weekend (3) because we desire to have a strong family bond where our children come to us and not their peers for validation and advice (4) because we desire for our children to grow up to be whatever God has intended for them- not just follow the mold of a certain school or curriculum.

 Our "theme" verses are Deuteronomy 6:4-7 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Having this big picture has guided our focus. We are determined to homeschool for the long run- unless God leads us otherwise. We choose not to do many extra-curriculur things because we want to keep our family at home and unified. I use a very relaxed homeschooling approach that allows for much child-directed learning and allows me to be led by the Holy Spirit to teach what I believe He wants me to teach. Advanced academics is not really a concern, so I don't hurry my children. If they read at age 4, that's great; if it is age 9, that is okay too. My goal is for them to develop into the people God wants them to be. If I need to forgo school for a few days to work on a behavior/heart issue, so be it. The heart issue takes priority over academics every time!

I hope this gives you some insight into "The Big Picture." If you are already decided to homeschool, and you don't have a big picture, take some time to prayerfully develop one.

My next post will focus on different homeschooling styles, and I will include some of my favorite websites.

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