Working backwards is a nifty math strategy my kids have learned to use –I find it’s a pretty useful approach to life as well.  So a foundational step in getting started home schooling is deciding where you are headed in the first place.  Where do you want your kids to end up when all is said and done? 

Where’s your family headed?  What goals do you desire to see your children reach while they are under your care? 

Home schooling isn’t about protecting our kids; it’s about preparing them.  But preparing them for what?  

If you haven’t thought this out before, now’s the time to do so.  This little exercise will become an important reference point when you lose your focus in the future.  It will also give you confidence that you have made a wise (logical and prayerful) decision and not a foolish (whimsical and presumptuous) one.  Then you’ll have the faith you need to press through the tough times (which I guarantee will come). 

Prayerfully consider the goals you desire your children to reach through home schooling.  Write them down.  Share them with your kids. 

Here’s the list Kermit and I made a number of years ago: 

  1. We want our children to love to learn.
  2. We want our children to have a marketable set of skills.
  3. We want our children to accurately understand the Christian faith and enjoy a vital relationship with the Lord.
  4. We want our children to articulate with integrity their Christian faith to their generation in a way that is both culturally relevant and persuasive. 

We certainly have other goals, values, and interests that are very important to us, but these sum-up the biggies.  These make the emphasis in our home just a bit different from the emphasis in another family’s home. 

A Vision Corrals Our Impulses

This short list has served me well over the years.  One of my favorite proverbs says, “Where there is no vision…the people perish”  (Proverbs 29:18 AMP).  The New American Standard version says, “Where there is no vision; the people are unrestrained.” 

Do you know what it is to be unrestrained?  I do.  My husband says without him in my life, I am a loose cannon.  You just never know what I might try to shoot at next… 

When I don’t have a clearly delineated vision guiding my decision-making, my life becomes chaotic.  I waste time looking at all my options and heading down paths with no destination in mind.  I meander aimlessly from day to day and accomplish nothing of eternal or even temporal value.  I become “double-minded” and  “unstable in all my way,” rethinking decisions, choices, and options over and over again and growing weary and discouraged. 

The goals I’ve listed corral me in.  They are the parameters I need for assessing my options – and not just whether to home school at all or not; but also in considering these things: