Our vision for our homeschool is to instil wisdom and wonder in our boys. We are Christians and it is our deepest desire that our boys grow to have a deep personal faith of their own and to live this faith out with wisdom in their everyday lives. That they can make choices and decisions dependent upon their understanding of, and faith in their personal and powerful God. We also hope that they explore their world with wonder and curiosity. That they ask questions and learn to find answers. That they appreciate truth and beauty in nature, art and literature.
Once we had worked out our vision we were then able to work out some big picture goals for the first year of our homeschool journey. None of these goals are content driven. In fact, the content is somewhat irrelevant to these goals. He could be learning how to count, how to read, how to wash the dishes, how to ride a bike, or how to grow carrots.
Guided by our vision, our four big practical goals are –
We have worked out a rough daily and weekly rhythm to guide our planning. At the moment, it is just words on paper. Our goal for this year is for this to actually become the rhythm of our lives. We will start with a short period of “Morning Time” and “Tablework” after breakfast each morning. Morning Time will be devoted to things of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. Tablework will be the time for short lessons and skill work. This is the only formal, structured part of our day. To begin with it will only be about 15-30 minutes a day as is fitting for his age. Once this is in place, though, it will (hopefully) be easier to gradually increase the time allocated to this part of the day as he grows. We also have a weekly rhythm which each day dedicated to just one idea/project. For example, Wednesday is Adventure Day. I will write more about our rhythms and practices in an upcoming post.
2. A Different Measure of Success
Our son is incredibly passion driven and will dive deeply into a subject before his enthusiasm fizzles out. At 2.5 he was obsessed with dinosaurs and could name and identify over thirty different species. Yet I was surprised recently to discover that he had forgotten almost all of this knowledge. He could no longer even say “Parasaurolophus” which had been his favourite for so long. Our goal is not for our children to become encyclopaedias who can recite facts on demand but rather for them to be curious and passionate about the things of this world. We want our children to appreciate the Beautiful, the understand the Truth and to strive for Goodness. Our goal is to ignite a passion for learning in every form. We want them to try hard and to not give up. We want them to observe, make connections and ask questions. We want them to want to learn.
This year, being our first year, we also aim to streamline the systems that we use to plan and conduct our homeschool. We are not legally required to register with our state government yet, the workload is light and we are only planning for one of our children at the moment. This year is the perfect opportunity for us to run a “trial” on our systems and processes. I have a tendency to go overboard with details, so my goal is to work to streamline and simplify my processes for the easiest more efficient results.
4. Adventure and Exploration
Lastly, we want our boys to have fun. Our planning has a little room set aside for structured learning and a lot of room for fun. We want them to play together with their trains, build forts under the dining table, dig in the dirt, go swimming, ride their bikes and bond as only brothers can. It’s just the beginning of their homeschool journey, and I want them to look back at 2017 and say, “that was fun, let’s do it again.”