One of the first things homeschooling parents need to acquire, before buying curriculum or creating a pleasant teaching area in the home, is a homeschooling mindset. Many start out with the idea that they need to outdo the public or private school down the street in matters of learning environment, computers, furniture, and other “outside-school” paraphernalia. While eventually these things will all need to fall into place, without a grounded perspective that establishes the homeschool as a distinct entity, the parents may become sidetracked and their intended results can easily become matters of secondary or tertiary importance.
What exactly is a homeschool mindset? Well, it includes the answers to the following questions:
- Why am I homeschooling in the first place?
- How will I measure success or failure?
- What is my working definition of “education”?
- Who is the authority I will answer to?
To be sure, there are many reasons why parents might decide to take the homeschooling route. However, I recommend that they clearly establish at the outset (possibly putting it in writing) why and how they came to their decision. Whether the reasons were spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, or some combination thereof — or whether parents choose to homeschool as a response to a problem or to follow through with a particular vision — creating a de facto “mission statement” will keep them on purpose and on track toward their goal.
Measuring success or failure is a tricky issue because our culture tells us that we need to be specially trained for years and years in order to teach another human being how to read, compute, and study. Yet, many “products” of this conventional “wisdom” can’t really read, comprehend, or utilize the subject matter they are fed for 12 long years of schooling. So, it is imperative that parents have a good working definition of education. Webster’s 1828 dictionary definition is quite thorough and comprehensive:
The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.
Therefore, an honest evaluation of progress should take into consideration much more than tests results, essay answers, and the like.
“Genius is as common as dirt” said Gatto.
The goal is not to product children smarter, more knowledgeable, and more able to deal with the real world than the products of the public school system: that’s a rather low bar.
The goal is not even to produce great entrepreneurs, powerful mothers and fathers, piercing scientists, or great internet video experts: although that is appreciated.
The goal is to raise up mighty instruments, for Christ to use in the expansion of His Kingdom… and the blessing of His people.
THAT’S the goal.
That is also what the filthy enemies of Christ want to steal from you.
Make certain that they fail, and the Will of Christ succeeds.