This may be redundant, but with the renewed attention to homeschools everywhere, I don’t mind repeating: Every family is unique, and each homeschool is different.
If you are considering a switch to homeschool life, the best way to start is by establishing some ground rules. Think about your family’s core values, goals, and overall vision for your school.
There is not one way to homeschool; no one curriculum is “the best.” Each student in a family will fly a different curricular path, therefore homeschool leaders (parents, this is you) should consider your school’s foundation and devise a school plan based on those values. This plan is your Homeschool Mission Statement.
Create your school’s profile and decide what your objectives are. It took us several of our early school years to honestly and accurately decide who we were, but we never gave up on trying. For us, travel and life experiences are on the top of our list, so we build courses and reading lists based on where we are going. We balance that with required subjects and our kids’ current interests.
In addition, each year we discuss and draft a mission statement that reflects the profile of our school. We write out how we plan to execute the year in regards to curricula, and include our standards, priorities, and ideals. Then we apply the statement to our reality and ask, Do they match? What needs adjusting?
Currently in our 33rd year of parenting and 9th year of homeschooling, we are confident in and secure with our Homeschool Profile, and we meet the following criteria of our own making:
Our school is college prep and secular.
Mastery Method is our teaching style.
Our curriculums are unique, eclectic; travel, and literature-based.
Our school year is a minimum of 180 days long.
Sports, music and extra-curricular activities are mandatory.
We are registered with and provide attendance to our local Public School district.
Our school operates in accordance with Rhode Island Gen. Laws § 16-19-2.
The National Home Education Research Institute estimates there were 2.5 million homeschool students pre-pandemic in the Spring of 2019. The Home School Legal Defense Association estimates that today that number is closer to 7-8 million. In some states, homeschools are legally defined as private schools, which means these numbers may be even higher.
Homeschools used to be a fringe alternative to modern education, but this statistic is clearly changing. For families who can afford the dedication, time, and money required to homeschool – and want to try their unique version of it – there are more resources available now than ever before. I love what we have built for our family, and hope our experience has encouraged others to try it, too.
There is always room for sports equipment when we travel – we might forget a hairbrush, but never a volleyball, or baseball and bat. This has been a steadfast rule in our homeschool from day one.
In our school, we strive to develop well-rounded, deep-thinking world citizen-athletes with a concentration on practical life and multi-cultural experiences. Our mission is clear, and our students are successful in both their education and their character.
If you want to embark on a real-deal homeschool journey, you don’t need to have all the answers before you start, but you can be sure you are a part of a growing demographic of impressive families. Get started by digging deep into your motivation to homeschool and establish some parameters. Your Homeschool Profile (aka Mission Statement) will flow from there.