My educational philosophy has become more integrated and comprehensive over the past 2 decades of homeschooling. We’ve graduated 2 very different students, are on our 3rd round of high school and are still entrenched in eled. Overall, it’s been a fun and fascinating journey. It’s still exciting to think about what we’ll learn and explore together each year. How do we decide, year after year, what to teach, how to teach and that we’ve done an adequate enough job to continue? My husband and I pose and prayerfully answer 3 questions:
1: What are the goals that we have for our kids?
(What is GOD’S VISION for your children?)
These can be determined in the following ways
a. a typical course of study
b. state standards
c. your educational pedagogy
d. family legacies and calling
e. technical or job specific skills
f. vocational dreams or goals
g. employable skills
h. transferable skills
i. God’s calling
2. What are our kid’s skills and talents?
(WHO ARE THEY?) These can be understood by
a. natural ability
b. taught abilities
c. learning styles
Some kid’s natural abilities will determine the goals that we have for them. A good friend of mine has both a gifted child and a severely limited child within her family. The goals for these 2 children are radically different. Average children can get rather far in life with determination and a strong work ethic. The opposite side of the coin is that those same children can be limited and held back when they are not empowered with learning tools or lack the willingness and diligence to get past inevitable learning curves.
3. What resources do we have available?
(What has GOD PROVIDED?)
a. resources we have readily available:
parental skills and talents, materials, books, supplies we own.
b. resources we’ll need to outsource:
skills and talents that we need to hire, materials, books, supplies we’ll need to aquire.
For many of us it can be a huge struggle to reconcile what our goals are, who our kids are and what our resources are. For example, we might want our child to be a concert violinist but if we don’t have an instrument, or training, or live in a certain area, the chances of that happening will be nominal. Success as a homeschooler, and as an intentional parent, means taking a realistic look at what you are called to provide for your children. Perhaps that means heroic efforts or changing some things in your life to provide differently for your children. Perhaps that means, very simply, resting in the provision God has already supplied.
Over the years, as I have made decisions based on the above, I have had to consciously trust in the Lord, and, oftentimes, adjust my goals based on the limitations we’ve faced (physical, financial, geographic, etc). It has helped me to remember that God loves my children far more than I ever could and the plans that He has for them are good; far better than mine are or ever will be.
Along with that, life is seasonal. The challenges and opportunities that you face today will be different later on and as you grow and develop you will gather more tools and resources; physical (books, lab equipment), intellectual (you learn as you teach), etc.
Lastly, keep in mind, that our children are not ultimately our own. We are stewards of them, with the ultimate goal of presenting them to the Lord for His service. God might keep us limited in specific ways, not to punish or diminish our hopes and dreams, but to refine us and our children, and perhaps, generations to come.
“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.” (Psalm 127)
God bless you as you raise your children to be mighty in the Lord!