Though it’s only March, this is the time of the year when parents begin planning for next school year. We begin researching curriculums. We attend homeschooling conventions. We begin asking our friends questions about what worked for them.
This is also a great time to begin educating yourself, getting new insight and fresh perspective. This is the time of the year, when we renew our vision and purpose for educating. I’ll be honest, this vision is the fuel that enables us to finish the school year strong. There is a wonderful purpose to all of this.
In all this excitement and research it is so easy to get swept away by the latest and greatest homeschooling “fads”. Yes, there are fads in the homeschooling world too. And as we are caught in the tide of excitement, we find ourselves with great and ambitious plans to do ALL the wonderful things that the “experts” suggest. As I’ve listened to and read the many suggestions, I find that most of what is suggested is very compelling.
Being parents that want the best for our children, we want to do it ALL–at once. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve started hyperventilating over the next “thing” that my children need to learn. All of these things are so cool and interesting too!
So I make my plans to teach my children a myriad of subjects. We start off so well! But then… I become inconsistent, and tired. It’s just too much to maintain over the long haul.
I’m a pretty simple lady. I’ve learned that I can only stay consistent with a few things over a long period of time. Perhaps you can manage more than I, but I have to stay super simple, and focused or nothing gets done well.
I’ve learned that doing too much, leads to doing everything mediocre or poorly.
So I must focus on the essentials, and do them as well as I can.
Honestly…the basics are enough.
Let me say that again. The basics. are. enough.
We cannot teach our children everything. Even if I had 100 hours a day for the next 20 years, I still couldn’t teach my children everything.
Nor do they need to know everything.
What they do need are some basic tools that will position them for a lifetime of learning. Remember, we want them to be people who will live a life of learning. We don’t want them to be among the masses of people who, finish school, check off the “learning box” as being complete and then spend the rest of their life coasting on what they’ve already learned.
People who stop learning, stop growing.
We need to think of these basic tools as we would think of a carpenter needing a hammer and nails, a writer needing a pencil, a musician needing an instrument, and a painter needing a brush. There is nothing special about the tools themselves, but once put in the hands of an inspired, determined and skilled craftsman, beautiful masterpieces emerge.
So here are the basic tools we focus on: Service, Inspiration, Reading, Communication, and Arithmetic.
I want to include just a brief explanation of the goals of each of these “subjects” but later I’ll include separate blog posts which will go into further detail.
- Service: Investing our time, resources, and abilities in order to bring good into the lives of others.
- Inspiration: Getting excited about what life could and should be. Envisioning the future
- Reading– Fluently decoding and understanding words for the purpose of enjoyment or extraction of information for some useful purpose.
- Communication– Being able to share thoughts and ideas through writing, speaking, music, or other artistic forms.
- Math– Problem solving, basic calculation, understanding of how numbers work, understanding of finances