Monday, August 18, 2008

Essential Ingredients to Homeschool Success

Just read a post by Terri at Knowledge Quest where she shares 5 Essential Ingredients to Homeschooling Success. Go read her post because it is great and she says much more than I'm going to highlight here.

After reading her post I decided to list the ingredients and share how I feel we're doing in each one:

1. "the desire to foster a closer relationship with each of your children and your kids with one another."

This has always been very, very important to me, and in spite of how important it has been, it hasn't been commpletely successful. We're going to have to discuss this one as a family and come up with some plans

2. "a teachable spirit on the part of the parent"

I have always loved to learn, but I have to admit that I'm not always teachable. Sometimes I'm too stubborn to admit that I need to learn something. I'm going to have to work on that one.

3. "creating a home environment that is conducive to learning"

Our home environment is pretty conducive to learning but there's definite room for improvement in that respect. I need to work on getting things in order to make it more conducive to learning. Part of that is that I need to be more organized and get rid of some clutter.

4. "2 hours of your time to devote to your children’s studies"

Need to work on this one too. I tend to get lost in the computer and I need to tame that monster. I've actually been working on that and doing better.

5. "a library card"

The library has always been very, very important in our schooling and we made regular visits - until last year. Need to get back on track with that one.

Having a Purpose and Specific Goals

Every since I read Jeannie Fulbright's post Homeschooling with Purpose some time last week I have been putting lots and lots of conscious thought into developing a purpose and goals for this coming year, and into getting it in writing. The gist of Jeannie's article was that you need to have specific prayed through goals for your children and then trust God because He had plans for those children before they were born and He intends to see them to fruition.

There seems to be two counter ideas there - planning goals and trusting God - but they are not really counter ideas and it is important to do both, and to do both together, not separately.

In the past I have planned and not really trusted, and I've also trusted and not really planned. Neither works on it's own and this time around I'm taking it slow but I'm also being purposeful. I'm spending much time jotting down my thoughts and praying over them and I'm gradually working towards developing a plan. I've talked to DD#1, who is my only official homeschooler this year, about what I am doing and have asked for her to join me in the praying and the planning. I've been planning on talking to DH about it but haven't done that yet. Finding time to talk to him is so hard but I have to make it a priority in the next day or so.

A long time ago and friend of mine told me how important it was to develop a philosophy of education for your homeschool and to have it written down. I think I'm finally getting around to doing that and it feels good.