As we start a new school year we should always set and evaluate our priorities. They are more important than anything else we do in preparation for homeschooling. Why you may ask? All other homeschool choices should revolve around proper priorities for you and your homeschooling journey.
How does that work? If your family priority is raising children of character then you want to choose curriculum that reinforces your character values, participate in activities that reinforce character, and when things go awry, re-evaluate your reactions to where that child’s action or your reaction fell in the priorities list.
Why does it matter? Many of the causes homeschoolers get burnout is they are trying to direct their homeschool by other people’s standards and not their own. If you priority is not about having a math genius, then why are we having a melt down at the kitchen table over those math problems? That’s not to say that we give up on doing math altogether, but maybe we reevaluate the methods we’re teaching it with, the speed at which we are going or just the recognizing the need to step back and evaluate this in the scheme of your homeschool priorities.
Institutional School priorities consist of compulsory attendance, required knowledge, rule compliance and skill building. These are not bad things but homeschoolers have different priorities. Most often we homeschool our children for a special circumstance, personal family needs or values and/or a child’s well-being. So Homeschool priorities are usually values, attitudes, habits, skills, talents, interests, and knowledge that focus more on that individual child or your family as a whole.
Setting priorities help you to have a less stressful homeschool day, enable you to say no to your children as well as to others that infringe on your homeschool day or activities, give you a more defined direction and a criteria for which to measure your homeschool journey.
Priorities will change over the years. Priorities for one child may be different for another based on their skill sets or challenges. Priorities should also be prioritized. However, everything can’t be a priority. Keep it simple and the obvious priorities should probably be under 5. Those priorities need to look at the big picture not each individual school subject – that’s lesson plans.
Priorities can be fluid but ultimately you will find comfort and direction in having set those priorities. It’s like the old saying goes, “Don’t set the cart before the horse.” The schooling is the cart but you’re missing the horse if you don’t have priorities.
~ Written by Sandra Coughlin