You’re thinking about, or even have decided, to take the plunge and begin homeschooling. Or perhaps you’ve been homeschooling for a while but are beginning to feel “lost.” What to do?

Take your favorite writing instrument, clear fifteen minutes to a couple hours for yourself, and sit down and mull over the following questions:

  • What is education? (Hint, there’s not just one answer.)
  • What is the purpose of education for your child?

These are very hard questions–but even developing some sketchy answers will help immensely.

Maybe one child will need college later. Maybe a child doesn’t; high school is enough.  Maybe one wants to breed and raise horses. Maybe one wants to make movies. Maybe one wants to…fill in the blank. So what’s needed educationally to make those wants happen?

Maybe you feel practical knowledge (cooking, repairing, budgeting, etc.) are an essential part of education. Maybe it’s thinking skills and problem solving. Maybe it’s character and service to others. Maybe it’s the discipline involved for research.

You get the idea?

There’s no one educational purpose out there.

There’s not one size fits all.

And when you can answer those tough questions, it all gets easier.

You know what curriculum and resources to look for.

You know when to say, “Well, we tried that but it hasn’t worked very well, and it’s really not an essential part of the big picture for this child anyway.”

You can breathe because you know you don’t have to do everything.

And you can rest knowing that this is what’s best for this particular child–and isn’t that a big reason why you chose to homeschool in the first place?

Get a cup of tea, grab your pen or laptop, make time to think about those questions. Writing it down does not etch it in stone. Homeschooling (and children’s growing in general) is a process. Look your list over once or twice a year or whenever things bog down. Make changes as needed. Over time, though, I think you’ll find these kind of big picture elements stay consistent. It’s only the details over time that change.

Remember, childhood’s a journey, not a destination!

Babette Reeves