As I look back on my experience teaching my daughter to read, I am so thankful my husband and I had invested the time at the beginning of our homeschool journey to establish our homeschool mission statement!
My daughter was a struggling reader until she turned 11. It was not for a lack of trying. We began reading lessons the day she turned six. For the next five years, we practiced sight words, phonics, visual discrimination skills, gross motor skills, and auditory skills. We even had an evaluation completed to assess if she had specific learning challenges we needed to address. Basically, we did everything we could to ensure she had the skills she needed to read, and we gave her plenty of opportunities to practice reading. But it just didn’t click.
Two of our values on our homeschool mission statement are for our children to
- Learn at their own pace.
- Master what they are learning, regardless of how long it takes to master the subject.
We knew our daughter would learn to read. She was just going to learn at her own pace, so we gave her time and space to do just that. We never stopped trying, but we did take a gentle and developmentally appropriate approach. And she did learn to read and now devours books.
Because I made decisions about how to proceed based on our homeschool mission statement, I was not stressed about her learning to read. Instead, I knew that she was learning at her own pace, we were doing everything we could to help her, and she would master the skill of reading, eventually.
Do you really need to invest the time to develop your homeschool mission statement?
No. You can choose a curriculum and just get started. But when you have a homeschool mission statement, you can evaluate decisions about curriculum, activities, and challenges against your mission statement and know that your decisions will line up with your end goal.
What if you didn’t write one when you first started homeschooling?
Is it too late to write one? Of course not! It’s never too late to write your homeschool mission statement. You may even find that you already have pretty clear ideas about your child’s educational journey. They just aren’t codified into a mission statement.
How long will it take to write?
That depends on how much you have already read and thought about your educational philosophy. If you are just getting started, it may take a few days or longer. My husband and I wrote the first draft of our homeschool mission statement during a weekend retreat. I had read about various educational philosophies for several years, but we had not discussed what we liked about the various philosophies and what we wanted to include in our mission statement. It may not take as long if you already have some clear ideas about your educational philosophy.
Schedule an evening or a weekend with your husband and without children to begin the process. You may not finish, but you can complete your homeschool mission statement over a few dates.
What should you include?
It can be daunting to stare at a blank piece of paper and attempt to write out your homeschool mission statement! We found it helpful to see examples of other homeschool mission statements and to think through some questions. Consider your answers to the following questions.
- What are your reasons for home educating?
- What are your long term educational goals?
- What do you consider important regarding the development of your children?
- What educational philosophies do you want to incorporate into your children’s education?
- How will you evaluate learning?
- What will you consider a successful education?
Your answers to these questions can then become your homeschool mission statement!
What should you do with your homeschool mission statement?
First of all, print out a copy and place it inside your homeschool planner. Then refer to it when making decisions regarding your homeschool.
Each year, read through your mission statement. I find it is helpful to read through ours when I begin planning for the next school year. This allows you to remind yourself of what is important to your family and your homeschool. It also provides an opportunity to revise your homeschool mission statement. As you continue to learn about educational philosophies, teaching styles, learning styles, etc., you may discover that some of your values have changed slightly or at least have been refined.
Sample homeschool mission statement
I know how helpful it was for my husband and me to see several examples when we were writing our homeschool mission statement, so I want to help you get started too! Here is our homeschool mission statement. I don’t mind if you copy portions of it. After all, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. But please do invest time to consider your answers to the questions and discuss them with your husband to develop your own homeschool mission statement.
Wagner Homeschool Mission Statement
What are your reasons for home educating?
- it is our God-given responsibility to teach our children to love the Lord our God with all their heart, soul, and mind.
- it is our responsibility to teach our children a Biblical worldview.
- it is our responsibility to teach our children appropriate attitudes, values, and behaviors.
- our children should develop meaningful and intimate relationships with God, family, and friends.
- our family should serve God, each other, and our community.
- our children should have the freedom and time to explore subjects of interest, and through that exploration, discern God’s call on their lives.
- that God created us for relationships with Him and each other. Therefore, we will guard ourselves against being overly busy in our fast-paced society so we can invest time in meditation with God, maintenance of our relationships with each other, and building friendships with others.
- that, as a family, we will work cooperatively, not competitively, in all we do, including our educational endeavors.
What are your long term educational goals?
We desire that our children will:
- have a personal relationship with God and know Him intimately, trust Him, and seek His will for their life.
- develop a lifelong love for learning, seeking knowledge in areas of interest and need throughout their lives.
- learn to effectively and efficiently run a household.
- develop a strong work ethic that will glorify God in all pursuits.
What do you consider important regarding the development of your children?
It is important that our children:
- participate in physical activity every day.
- learn at a developmentally appropriate level and at their own pace.
- utilize all learning modalities to strengthen their weaker learning style while learning how to learn with their primary learning style most efficiently.
- develop self-control and responsible social behavior, and that structure, unconditional love, nurture, praise, encouragement, natural consequences, and consistent age-appropriate punishment are essential tools in that development.
What educational philosophies do you want to incorporate into your children’s education?
We believe our children:
- should develop an intimate knowledge of God’s creation.
- should have a broad and generous education, incorporating diverse disciplines to become a well-rounded person.
- begin learning at birth and make connections with the world around them.
- will assimilate the information presented to them at a developmentally appropriate level.
- should master what they are learning, regardless of how long it takes to master the subject.
- should learn to reason and think, using their God-given intellect.
- should learn to communicate effectively through the spoken and written word.
- should learn mathematics, the system through which God created the universe and brings order to our lives, through a balance of conceptualization, calculation, and logical reasoning/problem-solving.
- receive training in music and the arts, enabling them to see the creativity and beauty of our Creator and His creations, to think more globally, express their emotions and inner thoughts, and improve their visual-spatial skills.
How will you evaluate learning?
Learning will be evaluated by:
- observation of our children’s vocabulary and use of language.
- age-appropriate narrations—oral, written, and other creative expressions that demonstrate what the child learned.
- conversations and discussions about what they learned.
What will you consider a successful education?
A successful education is one that:
- instills a love of learning.
- teaches critical thinking.
- teaches independent learning.
- instills diligence, perseverance, and excellence.