Are you going with the flow or creating a unique homeschool to reflect your family’s needs?
Scroll through social media and you’ll see them: photos of beautiful homeschool rooms, lovely rituals, and delightful-looking books. While these are wonderfully inspiring, It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game. Rather than creating a unique homeschool that reflects our individual families, we can put an inordinate amount of pressure on ourselves to “measure up”—to follow certain models of education and to create a picture-perfect homeschool.
But momma? A picture never tells the whole story. And a cookie-cutter homeschool method may not always cut it. The truth is, our families are unique. Our children are unique. And while it’s important to learn from others, our homeschools need to be unique too.
How do you create a unique homeschool that reflects your unique family?
A good place to begin answering that is with the following four questions:
1. What are your core values?
The first question to ask yourself when creating a unique homeschool is: what are the things that are most important to our family? Is it your faith? Work ethic? Character? Spending time together? Why did you choose home education and what is your end goal? Write out your answers in a notebook. Take some time to think about those responses. Now ask yourself whether there are any areas of your homeschool that need to be altered in order to reflect these core values.
2. What are your children’s strengths and passions?
As homeschool parents, we have the opportunity to carefully nurture our children’s gifts and talents, as well as provide extra support in the areas in which they struggle. You know your child best. What is your child passionate about? What are their character strengths? Their talents? Write these down in your notebook as well. Brainstorm ways to build your child’s passions into your day, whether it’s through trips to the library to explore them further, extracurricular activities or lessons, or unit studies and courses.
Are there ways that you can use your child’s passions to bolster them in the areas in which they struggle? For example, a child who struggles with handwriting may be more willing to do copywork if the copywork relates to a subject that interests them.
Another thing to consider is how each of your children learns best. For example, are they auditory learners? Experiential learners? Tactile learners? Don’t be afraid to adapt the curriculum you use or the method you follow to suit your child’s learning preferences.
3. What are your strengths and passions?
Home education is a family endeavor, and as such, you matter more than you know. What are your strengths and passions? Jot those down. Do you love the outdoors? Computer programming? Literature? Write these down and think about how you can include these in your day. We tend to know more about the things which we are passionate about, and we engage more on subjects that fall into line with our interests. Take the time to teach the things you love.
4. How can you merge your family’s individual interests?
Although it’s important to encourage independent learning, it can also be beneficial to find ways to merge the individual interests of family members. Why? Because when we find common ground, we create an environment in which everyone is passionate about learning. This doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it can happen quite naturally. For example, if you are passionate about nature study and your child is passionate about art, let him or her take a sketchbook along on a hike. Or if one child loves robotics and another loves literature, attend a STEM program at your local library or read a science fiction novel together. There are many ways to create a learning environment that reflects the interests of the whole family.
Creating a unique homeschool that reflects your unique family is a process.
There is no one specific formula for homeschool success. When creating a homeschool that uniquely reflects your family, therefore, it’s important to remember that home education is a process. What works one year may not work another year, so take time to re-evaluate on a regular basis. One of the most beautiful things about teaching your children at home is that you have the freedom and flexibility to customize your children’s education to reflect your family’s values and interests. Don’t be afraid to be different. You weren’t created to fit a mold.