by Sue Pierce
Beginning a new school year is a great time to rethink why we do what we do.
- Why are you homeschooling?
- What is the fundamental reason?
- What are the secondary reasons?
- What are the goals?
- What are the means?
- Is your main reason religious conviction?
- Is it academic success?
- Is it just the safety of your students?
You remember; these are the old “who, what, when, where, why, how” questions. This primary reason will form the very foundation of your Philosophy of Education.
A Philosophy of Education (POE) is not a legally required document, but it is very helpful for you to have. It helps you think out your answer to home school inquiries before you need to render an answer to someone else. “Study to show yourself approved” in an academic sense. It honors God to do all things decently and in order. (1 Cor. 14:40)
The POE sounds a little scary, but it’s really not. It’s just your rationale for homeschooling. It’s an explanation or “mission statement” for your school. Preparing the POE is like preparing yourself for defending your decision to homeschool. It’s helpful to have something ready when someone asks you why you are doing this crazy thing. Or maybe for those days when you are wondering why you are doing this crazy thing.
Your school’s POE does not need to be equivalent to a doctoral dissertation. Start with just a paragraph, or maybe three paragraphs. Answer the who-what-when-etc. questions, and expand a little with Scripture and reasoning. Then next year look at it again and polish it up some. After your first five years or so, you will be feeling much more confident about this crazy decision to home school. And by then, your students will be showing the proof of your convictions, much more than if they had been in a classroom full of peers all those years!
Having a good mental grasp of why and how you want to accomplish your goals in home schooling will also help you make decisions along the way. When you are presented with those “golden opportunities” that “everyone” is taking advantage of, that is a good time to reflect on your Philosophy of Education. Will that underwater basketweaving class actually help you reach the goals you have set up for your student? Or would it be a distraction or maybe even be harmful to your process? Soccer or music lessons or dance may truly fulfill your purposes, but every year? Maybe one thing per year?
Our main goal in home schooling should include pleasing God in what we are doing. Discharging our duty to God and to our family, in an honorable way, is something for which we should all strive. May God bless you and your family as you start your school year in His abundant mercy and grace.
Copyright 2013. Used with permission of the author. Originally published in Apples of Gold, Christian Home Educators newsletter, September 2013 and on Homeschool411.com, September 2013.
Sue Pierce and her husband David began homeschooling their six children in 1985. They live on 20 acres in Humboldt County, California where the Pierces have been active in their local homeschool community. The Pierces also serve as Regional Advisory Board members for Christian Home Educators (CHEA) of California.