I have spoken to several mums over the last few weeks who have recently taken their children out of mainstream schooling and are at the beginning of their home education journey. It can seem a bit overwhelming to begin with; how do we teach English/maths/history etc? How can I make sure my child doesn’t “fall behind”? How will they make friends? Where are the other kids they could make friends with? How will I stay sane in this?
Helen and I did a podcast recently addressing some of these issues, and I thought I’d write a little more here. It is of course a huge step, but I think much of the anxiety can be reduced by examining our “why” before our “how”. At this stage I must get another plug in for “Another Way to Learn?”, the new UK compiled book on home education. In chapter 1 Jessica addresses the “why” issue beautifully, and further on Sian has written candidly about her family’s transition from school ed to home ed.
So what do we mean by our “why”? It’s the bundle of reasons which lie behind our decision to home educate. It will be based on our worldview, and includes amongst other things, faith, values and interests. It may initially be more of a gut feeling, rather than a carefully defined mission statement! In our experience, it grows and develops depth as the years pass. It is tested during the tough seasons and provides a compass to fall back on when we lose our way. Some people refer to it as an educational philosophy, and this sums it up well. However, I think it can cover more than just the education of our children. For this reason, I would suggest that exploring our “why’s” in this way is a valuable exercise for all parents, and will enrich and add direction to our families.
So, with the aid of some pictures, here are our “why’s”. Some have been there from the start, some have been added along the way, and many have been tested in the refiner’s fire.
These are our ideals, those which we strive towards, with tiny footsteps each day. We fail often, we say sorry and try again. Life is messy but our God is one who redeems in a beautiful way, beyond our imaginations and we hold onto that. So, with His help, and a vision in mind, we continue to walk forward.
I hope this has provided a glimpse of what we mean when we talk about our “why’s”. You may have compiled and written up your own educational philosophy (we never did!) but if not, I think having a vague idea of the direction in which you hope your family would be moving in, will help in your everyday decision making.