Planning Your Vision for Homeschooling (and The Life You Really Want)

Did you set some New Year’s resolutions for homeschooling?  Most of us set educational goals at the beginning of the traditional school year in September.  Unfortunately, those goals often aren’t achieved.  Life interrupts our plans and as the kids grow, their needs, skills, and interests change – even in the course of just a few months!

Some parents keep trying to do what doesn’t work, resulting in tears and tantrums. Or, they may throw up their hands and just hope for the best. By the time the New Year comes, they’re ready for a fresh start.

Making a resolution to get back on track with curriculum can be a mistake.  As Einstein is credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again – and expecting different results.

A failure to plan a strategy for creating the homeschool life you really want – one that truly develops your children’s potential, helps your family thrive, and makes everyone really happy – is a plan to fail.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve often made resolutions that don’t really motivate me.  In fact, by mid-January they started to feel more like “chores” or “shoulds” rather than heartfelt wants or desires. When you don’t keep your resolutions, it can make you feel guilty. You may engage in negative self-talk – as if that could ever motivate anyone.

In my experience, the “shoulds” really pile up fast in homeschooling, usually based on the school model for education and not on the true needs and desires of the individuals in the family.

If your New Year’s resolutions don’t invigorate you and your children to want to take action to accomplish something purposeful and meaningful, then why not do something different?

Instead of making a list of academic goals, why not create a vision of what you want in your life?  Instead of segregating schoolwork as a task to finish apart from living your lives, imagine an all-encompassing view of what you truly want in your life that includes education, play and relaxation, relationships, work, spirituality, and mental, emotional, and physical health.

All of these things flow together in a homeschool household. If we only address a small part of the whole, for example academics, we’re missing the bigger picture. Every aspect of life is inextricably entwined in homeschooling and/or unschooling.  All of the parts of the puzzle fit together to create our lifestyle. 

So, instead of limiting yourself to a resolution to complete the curriculum, think about where you would like to be in all of these areas a year from now and create a BIG, BROAD VISION. What qualities, characteristics, and skills would each family member like to possess or achieve? What would you truly like to do with your time and ability?

Think in terms of creating the homeschool life you want, and you can begin to create the environment that supports its development. You don’t have to confine your homeschool life to school grade levels each year.  You can liberate your family from conventional schooling to create the life you want. Doesn’t the idea of that make your heart beat a little faster?

It may be a bit scary, but use the excitement the fear produces to get going and achieve your heart’s desire. Let THAT propel you into motion in a way an annual resolution to complete a spelling workbook cannot. Ready to get started? 

Here’s a little exercise that will help:

Imagine it’s a year from now – January, 2011.  In the past tense, write a letter about all of the things that you and your kids did and what happened in 2010. 

Be very specific and include lots of detail.  Describe realistic activities but make sure they cause you to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone and get your heart and mind racing at the thought of the possibilities.  If it doesn’t feel a little risky, then dream bigger.

In your past tense letter, be sure to explain the things each of you learned, new skills you developed, and the activities you did.  Talk about the improvement in your relationships and family finances. Tell the highlights of a family vacation and the fun and really enjoyable things you did together. Mention what you did to ensure your physical health and sense of well-being.

Writing about it in detail, as if it has already happened, is empowering.  Every time you read it back to yourself, now and throughout 2010, it will enable you to see yourself really living the life you want. The more clearly you see yourself in that place, the more it will motivate you to take the action needed to get there.

Focus on what you genuinely want for your homeschooling life, not the agenda or “shoulds” of social engineers or some supposed authority that doesn’t have your best interests at heart.  When you know in the core of your being what you want for your life, when you can sense what it feels like to have it, it’s more likely to become a reality.  Here’s to living the most extraordinary homeschooling life you can imagine in 2010!

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