Some people think that unschoolers are lazy, reject any sort of planning, and don’t have goals. I can’t speak for other unschoolers – but nothing can be further from the truth for my family.
When my husband and I decided to homeschool (and even when we decided to unschool) we knew we had certain wants for our school. One of the reasons we homeschool is that we desire that our children become adults with certain skills and certain beliefs. So we do have goals for our homeschool.
Some of those goals are:
Spiritual health: We want our kids to have their own relationship with Jesus. We want to develop in them certain habits which will encourage this relationship, such as reading the Bible, praying and trusting in Jesus and not in the world or their own "goodness".
Relational health: We want them to have the ability to develop strong, healthy relationships with other people. We want them to have boundaries. We want them to know how to love. We talk about what to look for in friends and in a spouse.
Physical health: We want their bodies to be strong and healthy. We teach them about nutrition, exercise, hygiene, healing prayer, and first aid.
Financial health: Too many in our country are slaves to debt. We want our kids to understand how money works, and how to best be a steward of their finances.
Strong work ethic: We teach them what they can accomplish by working hard and planning well. We talk about project management and follow-through. We work on problem-solving skills. We discuss their future vocations and help them to discern their giftings and decide what their life’s calling might be.
Happiness: It sounds trite to say that we want our kids to be happy, but so many people today are unhappy. We use the teachings of the Option Institute to train our children to be able to choose happiness in all situations – which we find to be a Biblical directive: Count it all joy!
Love of learning: We want our children to love to learn and have the ability to learn anything they want. Reading is an essential skill – but is only loved if it is not forced. We want our children to love reading and enjoy learning new things. (I read a great blog post on "teaching" kids to read today.)
An appreciation for art, beauty and music: Whatever artistic gifts the Lord has blessed our kids with, we want them to flourish. Enjoyment of the arts is part of the joy of my life and I want to share that with my children.
If you haven’t written out your goals for your homeschool, then I encourage you to do so. Even if you don't homeschool, you want to have a focus for your parenting. It’s a fluid process. There will always be more to add, or to refine. But start. It’s important to know where you are going when you start on a trip. After all, you don't want to wind up wandering in the desert for 40 years. However, once you are on the trip, it’s totally cool to change it up a bit! Praying and asking God what His plans are for your kids, is a great way to start.
So how do you move toward these goals while maintaining an unschool, child directed approach? Stay tuned!
Wish you were here!