If you’re new to homeschooling, writing a homeschool mission statement is an important first step to make.
Congratulations! You’ve decided to homeschool. In a previous blog post, Homeschool Basics: Planning, I indicated that your first consideration should be your goals. However, that was not entirely correct. Your first consideration really should be your homeschool mission statement. You might be asking, “What’s the difference between a mission statement and goals, and why is having a mission statement important?” Read on to find out.
A mission statement sets forth the overarching purpose or vision of your homeschool. It is broad and long-term, and it applies to everyone involved. A mission statement will generally include your key values. Goals, on the other hand, are the more specific, measurable, and finite objectives that will be used to attain the mission. A goal specifies what you’re going to do in the short term. For example, a mission statement might be, “Show the love of God to all we encounter and pursue education with excellence.” A related goal might be, “Visit a nursing home weekly to read to the residents.”
To get some additional thoughts on mission statements, I turned to three “retired” homeschooling parents. Here are their insights from 30 years of combined homeschooling experience:
Why Is a Homeschool Mission Statement Important?
Carol said, “It’s important to know why you are homeschooling and not just have a vague idea. If you don’t have that kind of map that you’re following, you will go off the road, and important things will go by the wayside.” She also felt that it was vital that your mission statement be put in writing and that you don’t just rely on knowing it. This helps to identify potential contradictions, such as ignoring spiritual goals due to scheduling too many field trips or science co-ops.
Kathleen felt it was important to do a lot of “soul searching” in determining why you are doing this and how it will benefit your children
Shonia said, “it is important to have [a mission statement] defined within your family and with your husband.” Carol agreed and indicated that, as she and her husband shared and discussed, they found some ideas that were in conflict with each other that they were then able to resolve. Everyone agreed that age-appropriate input from the children is important, too.
Why Do People Choose to Homeschool?
Quality of Education
Carol indicated that her local public school was not academically sound or safe, and private school was not an option.
Shonia said, “Being a former public school teacher, I’m well aware of the distractions of inappropriate behavior within the classroom. [There’s] not a lot of time for kids on the upper and lower extremes. I wanted their day to be structured around their specific strengths and weaknesses.”
Kathleen indicated that homeschooling allowed her to determine what curriculum would work best for her children. She said, “Don’t be afraid to try new things!”
Kathleen said, “[Homeschooling] gave way to some wonderful creative learning, a relaxed atmosphere, and more fluidity in life. Some of the best years of my life!”
Shonia said, “As the kids got older, they were heavily involved in sports and church activities. If we had done that in a traditional school setting, there would not have been a lot of downtime and structured family time. Homeschooling allowed them to do that without any of those areas being compromised.” She added, “With Dad traveling a lot for work, we were able to take advantage of travel options and expose them to different areas of our country.” She also felt the length of the traditional school day coupled with intensive homework did not allow enough time for kids to bond with their siblings and families and just play.
Carol evaluated who she wanted her children to become. She wanted each of them to have their own relationship with God and follow the path that was laid out for them individually.
Shonia and her husband wanted to be the main influences on their children and didn’t want them exposed to worldly issues before they had a chance to teach them their values and views. It was also important to them to be able to evaluate curriculum as to whether it met their worldview.
As you think about your own homeschool mission statement, you may find that some of the ideas presented in this blog post resonate with you, or you may find that your vision for your homeschool is entirely different. Regardless, take time to consider your homeschool mission thoughtfully, write it down, and use it as a roadmap to guide and direct your goals and strategies throughout your journey.