One of the first questions, people ask me when they decide to homeschool is, “What curriculum should I buy?” That is definitely a really important question because the choices are so overwhelming. My response is always, “What is your homeschooling/educational philosophy?” Most people have no idea what I am talking about or even where to begin with finding their own answer. The joy and challenge of homeschooling is that there are so many choices, but without understanding the teaching and learning philosophies behind the curriculums (or the reasons not to buy one), the challenges often end up outnumbering the joys and we spend way more money than we need to on educational materials that don’t really fit our families’ needs.
I like to think of our family’s educational philosophy as the vision that guides all of our homeschooling choices, and since homeschooling is a way of life and not merely a way of educating, it informs all of the decisions we make about our family from chores to activities outside the home, from books we buy and how we organize our days. The beauty of knowing your own personal homeschooling vision is the flexibility it allows in revising your approach as your family grows and changes.
Over the past 11 years of homeschooling, I have changed my approach many times, but my basic vision has stayed the same: nurturing a love of learning in my children. Sounds basic but that’s the beauty of it. With its simplicity, I could quickly tell if we were moving in the wrong direction and when our learning was at its richest.
This doesn’t mean that I knew from the beginning all that I know now about educational philosophy and how it translates to the practical day-to-day learning taking place. It has taken me all eleven years as a homeschooling mom and, an additional 7 years as a teacher before that, to come to where I am now and to find my family’s own unique blend of homeschooling, and to be ok with the fact that what it looks like today will probably change next year or even next month.
So over the next few weeks, I am going to share about the various homeschooling philosophies, and in doing so, share some of our story as a homeschooling family. I hope it will be informative and inspirational to those who are just starting out or have been homeschooling for a while. Feel free to leave any questions or comments down below.