Planning for a New School Year Part 1


The 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster gives this definition for education:

“The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.”

"Noah Webster," painted by Samuel Fi...

"Noah Webster," painted by Samuel Finley Breese Morse, undated, oil on canvas. 84.7 cm x 72.7 cm. Image courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Compare that to the modern definition of education in the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary:

1.a: the action or process of educating or of being educated; also: a stage of such a process
b: the knowledge and development resulting from an educational process <a person of little education>
2.: the field of study that deals mainly with methods of teaching and learning in schools
Pretty interesting contrast isn’t it?  The important thing here is to think about what education means to YOU.

If you are brand new to homeschooling (or you’ve been homeschooling for years and haven’t done this), you need to start with writing down why you’re homeschooling and what you would like to accomplish at the end of it all.  It’s super important to keep the end result in mind all the time.  A great book to help you work through this is Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top Pick’s for Homeschool.

The importance of the big picture can’t be stressed enough.  If you can’t get Cathy Duffy’s book, or you just prefer looking online, there is an ebook called Developing A Strong Enough Why by Chris and Ellyn Davis that may be beneficial.  Part of the introduction states, “In home schooling your children, if you have a strong enough WHY, the HOWs will take care of themselves. Most problems with home schooling tend to occur because parents get hung up over the HOWs of home schooling. And the reason is, they don’t have a strong enough WHY.”  Being a person that gets hung up on the HOWS of homeschooling myself, this statement really speaks to me.  You can read the rest of this ebook for free here.

You need to ask yourself questions like, “What is most important for my kids to learn?”  This isn’t meant to be specific, grade level skills like I want my son to know noun-verb agreement rules in 3rd grade, but more end result type goals, such as, “I want my children to know how to research thoroughly any subject they need to learn about.”

A website that can help you work through writing down your homeschooling vision can be found here.

So that’s it!  Step 1- Know WHY You’re Homeschooling and write it down!