Planning the homeschool year can be daunting. You may find yourself searching online, looking through books, looking at your disabled child – wondering if you can do this. Whether this is your first year as a homeschooler or your 6th, rest assured that every parent/ educator feels that stab of overwhelm at one time or another.
This is why I’ve put together a mini-series of things to think about, to ask yourself, and to do to help you plan the homeschool year successfully.
In this mini-series, you will find: a philosophical planning post (that’s this one), as well as a post for finding your child’s learning style and dominant intelligence, selecting an educational style, finding the curriculum & resources, adapting/ modifying the curriculum to your child’s needs, yearly planning, monthly planning, weekly, and then, daily planning. I conclude the series with some bits about student assessments and evaluations.
What is Your Philosophy of Education?
Before you dig deep into Pinterest and all of the inspiration you’ll find there, you need to sit down (one or both parents, as applicable) to discuss your homeschool philosophy.
It’s worth the effort to complete this step as it lays the groundwork for everything else that follows and will save you time (and head-scratching) in the long run. Once you know your family’s philosophy of education, you can share it with anyone who asks you why you decided to homeschool – which is a nifty little weapon to have on hand.
You might consider starting a homeschool journal (different from a homeschool planner) or just adding a few extra pages to your planner for writing down the bones.
Answer these preliminary questions:
- Why did you decide to homeschool?
- What special needs does your child have that you know you can provide as a homeschooling family?
- What is the attitude towards education and learning that you wish your child to experience?
- What values do you wish to impart on your child/family?
Taking into account how you responded to the questions above, devise your philosophy of education by responding to these final questions:
- What do you believe, as a family, about education? What does education look like? Sound like? Smell like (yes, smell is important too, especially for children with special needs)? Feel like? Taste like (another important sensory input to consider)?
Writing Your Belief Statement
After the initial brainstorm, clearly delineate it in a sentence or two: As a homeschooling family, we believe education is [fill in the blank with your unique beliefs] because [add what you jotted down about the five senses here].
Here is my example:
As a homeschooling family, we believe education to be a living and growing awakening that happens to a learner in a loving environment because nothing inspires a student more than a beautiful, quiet, chai-scented, and nurturing space.
Practice saying the words aloud. You may need to tweak it here and there. In fact, you may need to change it as your homeschooling experiences evolve – which is encouraged.
What is your family’s philosophy of education?