If you’ve struggled to keep focused, felt frustrated or lacked motivation along the bumpy journey of homeschooling; then I know exactly how you feel.
My family is currently in our second year of homeschooling and planning the third. The kids were in public school until the first few weeks of the 2014/2015 school year. After considering, praying and researching our family finally decided to start our homeschooling journey. Yes, we love the experience. There are days that the entire family is involved in learning with joy. We have opportunities to do things that we would be unable to do if we didn’t homeschool. There are days of frustration, aggravation and when we lack of motivation also. When we started homeschooling I knew it would take commitment, time and planning. I also knew there would be good and bad days. I had researched state requirements, curriculum, methods, scheduling, organizing and much more. I found out what I had missed looking into when we had one of those bumpy days early on.
What I was missing
While talking to another homeschooling mom about being frustrated she asked me an important question. “Why do you homeschool your children?” I was going to tell her, again, of the incident that finally helped my husband and I make the decision. Knowing what I was going to say she stopped me and said, “No, not the straw that broke the camel’s back. Why is homeschooling your children important to you?” I told her that my husband and I had talked about it a few times, even before the oldest started school. It was a good idea. We finally decided to do it. She then mentioned that there were other options, so what drove us to homeschooling in particular. She told me that if I could find the “WHY” it would help me remain focused on those days that bumpy.
Five Questions to Find Your Why
I’d like to say I came home and made a thoughtful list of why we homeschool, what our goals were, a vision board, or a mission statement. But I didn’t. I did think about her questions in the back of my mind for a few days. Then another bump came along and I realized that my friend had a valid point. The reasons why we homeschool should keep us motivated on those bad days. They should help us focus on what is important. They should take into consideration the long term benefits we want to receive from homeschooling our children. It boiled down to five basic questions.
- What values do I want to instill in my children and will it influence how we learn?
- What life skills do I want my children to know?
- Is it important to include our religious beliefs and view of the world as part of our learning?
- What do we want the final outcome of our homeschooling journey to be?
- What one thing is most important about learning for us?
We sat down as a family to answer these questions. With the lists, thoughts and ideas those questions generated we came up with our “Mission Statement for Learning.” Once we had a finished statement I printed it out, laminated it and have it as the front sheet in my school binder. On those days that we are feeling frustrated, lack motivation or are just having a bad day we read our mission statement out loud. It may not help at that exact moment but it does put our journey back into focus.