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!
Start by answering this question: What are your reasons for home educating?
Your answer to this one question can help you make decisions for your homeschool and can provide encouragement on difficult homeschool days.
You can expand and refine your homeschool mission statement over time.
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.
Expanding Your Homeschool Mission Statement
Once you know your purpose and reasons for homeschooling, you can begin to refine and expand your homeschool mission statement to better guide your decisions.
In the Writing Your Homeschool Mission Statement resource, you’ll find:
- 7 questions to guide you in writing your homeschool mission statement
- My family’s homeschool mission statement as an example to help you think through answers. (Copy as much or as little as you want. No need to reinvent the wheel!)
- Suggestions of how to use your homeschool mission statement so it doesn’t just collect dust, but helps you make better homeschool decisions.