Setting the foundation for your homeschool might seem challenging. But breaking it down into bite-sized pieces will make it much more manageable. It’s good to have a philosophy behind all your educational choices; it will help you choose curriculum and plan your homeschool year! Let’s get into it:
But First: What Is The Difference Between An Educational Philosophy and a Mission Statement?
If you feel that your mission statement is sufficient guidance to begin to plan your homeschool, there isn’t much need for an additional educational philosophy. I am writing this because it’s required for my accreditation. But, I don’t view it as a waste of time at all. I see an educational philosophy as a chance to really clarify. Clarify, for myself, my personal intentions for each of my children. How I want them to view their educational experience, the overall approach our family will take with homeschooling, and some of my most important end goals.
Start with the basics: What are your great hopes for your children?
Do you want them to have a specific attitude towards learning? Is your family pursuing a more relaxed homeschool? What exactly does that mean? This is a chance to explore and clarify the educational approaches you’re taking. If you really want to incorporate a lot of Charlotte Mason’s educational goals into your homeschool, maybe you want to start with something like, “children are special people all unto themselves, and their individualism will be celebrated.” I personally seek to embrace each of my children’s unique learning styles and develop curricula and activities that will really target their “sweet spots”. So, that’s in my philosophy!
Next, let’s talk schedule. What will your homeschool look like from day-to-day?
Maybe project-based or experience-based learning will be one of the main pillars of your homeschool. If you want to use a classical method, you can mention that. We’re required to do some community service as a part of our accreditation. Your family might be planning to do that anyway! The important thing to remember is that there are no wrong answers! Your family’s educational philosophy will be unique to your family. So, what makes your family unique?
My first three drafts of my educational philosophy were full paragraphs.
Ideally, your educational philosophy should be something you can summarize succinctly. Kind of like an elevator pitch for a business. To give you an idea of where I started- this is my first draft:
“Cultivating a well-rounded, thoughtful and unique education at home will allow us to share the best of ourselves with each other and the world. We want to share positive citizenship with our community and nurture our loving, compassionate family bonds at home. We also seek to enliven and expand our cultural horizons through direct participation in many and varied extra-curricular activities, as well as in-school field trips and travel opportunities”
Obviously, that’s quite a mouthful.
The second time, I tried again. I distilled it down even further.
But I still wasn’t happy with it.
It felt so wordy, and messy. I realized I needed to start with the bullet points, to really get down to the bottom of what I was trying to communicate. These are mine:
- Positive Citizenship
- Cultural horizons
- core values practiced
- specially tailored learning plans
- nurture passions
- embrace individual learning styles
What are your bullet points?
It was so much more helpful for me once I broke it down. I could see exactly what I was trying to say. My kids are special. They are going to share their special qualities with our community, and each other. Our school will be tailored to them, and their unique interests and abilities. Your educational philosophy will probably be similar- but it won’t be the same as mine. It will be a combination of your core values, how you’re going to incorporate them into your curriculum, and what you plan to have your kids do in addition to the reading, writing math, etc. You probably didn’t even realize it, but you already have an educational philosophy! When you decided to homeschool, it was already forming in your mind.
Now, get it down on paper!
And then send it to me! I want to read it, and I want to hear why you chose it! Or leave a comment below. And don’t forget to download my mission statement freebie, if you haven’t yet. It will get the ball rolling on all of this. Happy planning!