Planning Your Vision for Homeschooling (and The Life You Really Want)
Planning Your Vision for Homeschooling
(and The Life You Really Want)
By Diane Flynn Keith
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
"Think in terms of creating the homeschool life you want, and you
can begin to create the environment that supports its development."
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, 2012. In the past tense, write
a letter about all of the things that you and your kids did and what happened in 2011.
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
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 2011, 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 2011!
About Diane Flynn Keith ...
Diane Flynn Keith is a veteran homeschool parent and an internationally
recognized voice in education outside the traditional classroom walls.
Diane coaches and encourages thousands of homeschool families
through her website, Homefires.com and through her popular speaking engagements. She has
contributed to 5 books on homeschooling and is the author of the best-selling book,
"Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities To Turn Travel Time Into Learning Time."
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