Homeschooling – Begin with a Goal

I’m going to start working through the questions from the homeschooling post I wrote a couple of weeks ago. I’m going to start at the top and work my way down, so never fear…I will eventually get to your question. :)

This question came from Allison:
My biggest question is “How do I begin?” What is the very first thing that you did when you started this process. With so much to choose from, I can’t seem to focus on any one thing.

My beginning is a bit different.  I didn’t know there was so much to choose from.

Ignorance is indeed bliss!

I had one catalog and it was NOT Rainbow Resource!  It was a small publication from Keepers of the Faith.  I purchased their Rod & Staff Preschool Books, their McGuffy Reader, and their Ray’s Arithmetic.  Somehow I managed to teach  my son to count and read. (said with a hint of sarcasm…)

The next year I was introduced to Rainbow Resource and I read that catalog…all 2000 pages of it…cover to cover.  But, alas, money was tight and I knew I could not afford much from it.  So, I purchased an all-in-one curriculum that is no longer published and once again, “made do.”  My son continued to thrive.

However, I kept feeling the need to change things up…try new things I was seeing at all those homeschool conventions…and ultimately, make my life miserable.

Yes, miserable.

I give you this sad tale for several reasons:
1) To say that there is no perfect curriculum.
2) To say that you can teach your child with anything.
3) To say that if you don’t know where you are going, you will end up miserable.

The first two are fairly self-explanatory.  I had one curriculum choice when I started and yet, my son learned to read.  I was not discontent until I knew there were choices.  Prior to that I just used what I had.  Like I said earlier…ignorance is bliss!

But let’s work through point #3:
I’m going to just lay it out here…
Without goals, you will eventually get terribly muddled and confused.
I did.

And goals are not as scary as they might sound.  This Friday, I’ll be featuring a guest post from Celee @ Miscellaneous Musings of a 5x Mom.  In it, she writes about her family’s homeschooling goals.  I promise it will be an excellent read and you’ll see just how simple it is to list your family’s goals.

So number one thing you should do when you set out to homeschool?

Pray and ask the Lord to define your homeschool.
Ask what His goals are for your family.  Who are you as a family and how does homeschooling support who you are?  You don’t have to have some fancy document signed and notarized, but I would encourage you to write it out, post it, refer to it often.

Do you need a certain curriculum that works with your goals?  Perhaps, but more than likely ANYTHING you use will work if you master the curriculum and don’t let it master you.  Yes, there are styles that fit better with certain personalities, but you truly can use just about anything if you keep your goals at the forefront of your homeschool.

So, THAT is what I wish I had done when I began homeschooling.  I wish I would have had direction.  I wish I would have stopped looking for the perfect curriculum instead of spending years searching for an animal that does not exist.  I wish I had known that in God’s eyes, academics are secondary.

Start the journey with an end in mind!

18 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

18 thoughts on “Homeschooling – Begin with a Goal

  1. I’ve found that so true. I think because there is so much to learn that there is no way we could ever “do it all” so, for me if I lose sight of my goals then everyday feels like we just aren’t getting anywhere. Versus when I keep focused on what’s important then I know when we’ve accomplished what we set out to.

  2. Amy~
    Thanks for posting on homeschooling. For those moms who are just beginning, I am sure this is so helpful for them,, and I am loving reading along.
    Any good book reading suggestions you have off the tip of your mind for a homeschooling mom of 14 years? Need some inspiration to change things up,,
    AND..
    Really would love to hear your suggestions on a good book for a mom struggling with how far to take her convictions on Fruit of the Womb and God’s control.
    (BTW- My first blog giveaway is today and tomorrow,.. stop by if you get a free minute!)
    Love your ideas -thanks!

  3. Such a good post, as you know, curriculum catalogs give me a headache…don’t think I’d make it through a convention :)
    Off to put some goals on paper!

  4. I am overly excited about these homeschooling posts especially the ones about beginning. I am about to begin officially & I am nervous. Thanks for helping us newbies.

  5. I just wanted to say that I think this is absolutely excellent advice. I have home schooled for 2 years now and feel exactly as you have described. I was searching for curricula, trying to get it right. Just before Christmas, God finally smacked me in the head and made me realize that I needed to define my purpose and make everything else work for my purpose. NOT the other way around. How I wish that I would have known this 2 years ago. But praise God for his wisdom now!

  6. It’s also easy to get sidetracked from the goals you discerned as God’s will and the goals society would have you set. My friend and I were stressing over the yearly testing scores for our kids. However, we were forgettting that, for our families, our top goal is a closer relationship with God and with family – and that’s not on a standardized test!

  7. This post is so timely in that as I have been reading the book, “One Million Arrows” my goals for our homeschool have changed a bit. I am tired of being a slave to book work and not feeling like my children are growing in the way I WANT them to. So, while we are still using the books, I am refusing to be enslaved to them and am now using them as a compliment to the new focus, spiritual training. How can my children change the worl right now? That is what I want them to be thinking about and focusing on.

  8. As someone who home-schooled her kids…Just do the best you can and keep your focus on the LORD and what HE wants for you and your kids and all things will work out according to HIS good will and purpose.
    Hugs,
    andrea

  9. Yes, yes! So true. Goals are important otherwise we’ll find ourselves all over the place and going nowhere fast.
    When I need curriculum of a particular sort (like Bible, for example), I go looking for recommendations from blogger friends who have already tried them. I did that very thing today because I really felt we needed some more structure/direction in our Bible reading and I found something that looks like it will work great for us based on a review/recommendation of a blogger friend who has similar goals as me in this area.
    Curriculum can get expensive so you want to be sure that what you ARE getting will be MOST beneficial – so don’t be afraid to ask around ladies! :) Look for reviews – some are very detailed and can tip you off to what you may or may not be looking for.

  10. Amy,

    Thank you so much for answering my question. Prayful contemplation of goals is something I can definitely handle! Thanks for helping me get focused. Can’t wait to see what other homeschool treasures you have to share!

    God bless you and your family,

    Allison

  11. I emailed September with my book suggestions, but thought others might be interested to see what I recommended…

    Educating the Wholehearted Child by Sally Clarkson
    When You Rise Up by R.C. Sproul, Jr.

    and
    Full Quiver by Rick & Jan Hess

    Blessings,
    Amy

  12. I teach in a public middle school. States have benchmarks that can help guide parents regarding what their children should master by a particular age/grade level.

    I have seven “official” resources/textbooks from which to pull to meet my state’s benchmarks, and have hundreds of other resources that I have purchased myself or found online. (Google lesson plans and you will find tons of ideas. Also try “readwritethink.org”

    You are definitely on the right track when you say no one curriculum will meet every child’s needs. Use the benchmarks as goals and then select from various resources to meet those goals for the individual child. Having specific, measurable goals is the key to finding the right resources.

    Great post!

  13. Pingback: Homeschooling - What If I Get Tired of the Kids? | Raising Arrows

  14. Pingback: Homeschooling – What Do I Teach? | Raising Arrows

  15. I am a mom of 3 and my oldest is now in preschool and my husband and I are contemplating homeschool to give our children a strong foundation in Christ w/out sending them to public schools to be influenced by the world at such a young age. We want to teach our children and prepare them for life and share w/ them the importance of God in everything. I am very overwhelmed w/ all the material, what to order, what to read, what to believe. I have looked @ the A Beka material and liked it, but I want to be able to make the right choice. I have been told the public school will provide the books to use, but I don’t think that is the way I want to go b/c of how they teach. I have absolutely no idea where to even begin. Is there anything you could help me with. Thank you so much. Jill WV mom

    • Jill,
      Welcome! I’m not a big proponent of using the public school in any way, curriculum or otherwise. There are so many great homeschooling programs out there and really no “right” answer when it comes to choosing one just as long as it is Christ-honoring. You will also find as you go that you will want to try many different things, but starting with a boxed curriculum is usually a great way to get your feet wet. Many blessings,
      Amy