Hi! My name is Jackie, and I’m the founder of HomeSchool ThinkTank. I’m going to explain what a homeschool philosophy is, how I created mine, and why you need one too.
Homeschool Philosophy Defined
Are you wondering what a philosophy of homeschooling is? You aren’t alone.
If you would have asked me what a homeschooling philosophy was a decade ago, I likely would have looked at you like a deer caught in the headlights. I would have thought, “What the heck is that?”
Definition of Homeschooling
Let’s start with the definition of homeschooling. In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, homeschooling is defined in the following ways.
- “To teach school subjects to one’s children at home.”
- “To teach (one’s children) at home.”
Definition of Philosophy
Next, let’s move to the word philosophy. The 4th definition of the word philosophy in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary suits our purposes best. The word philosophy means “the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group.”
Definition of Homeschool Philosophy
Now, let’s combine the definitions of the words homeschool and philosophy.
The term homeschool philosophy isn’t found as one word in the dictionary. As the founder of HomeSchool ThinkTank, I’m combining the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions to create a new definition for homeschool philosophy.
Homeschool philosophy means the beliefs, concepts, and attitudes about teaching one’s children at home.
I’ve intentionally left the words “school subjects“ out of the definition because some homeschool families don’t believe in teaching school subjects in a way that is similar to how the school system educates children. While some home educators follow a traditional approach that mimics the public school system, there are many different methods of homeschooling one’s children.
Homeschooling Philosophy Simplified
While I’ve defined the term homeschool philosophy, I’ll explain it a bit more.
When I speak about your philosophy of homeschooling, I’m just talking about the way that you think about homeschooling and how this way of thinking applies to your family and your children’s education.
A homeschooling philosophy is really about combining the following ideas to create your own roadmap, or guiding principles, to how you will approach homeschooling your kids.
Create Your Own Homeschool Philosophy
Here are some ideas to consider as you begin thinking about your own homeschool philosophy.
- Knowing why you homeschool your kids.
- Considering how your own education, childhood, and history have impacted your belief system.
- Understanding your own belief system about parenting, education, school, learning, and homeschooling.
- Knowing what your own values and priorities are.
- Thinking about how children learn best.
- Constantly learning more about yourself and improving yourself so that you can be a better human and homeschooling parent.
Each bullet point above has an article, video, or podcast episode that goes more in-depth about the given topic. Hover over each point if you want to see the corresponding article or podcast episode.
Why a Philosophy of Homeschooling is Important
I wish I would have created my own philosophy of homeschooling when I started homeschooling my children over a decade ago. But you know what? I couldn’t have done that.
Because I didn’t know what a homeschool philosophy was. Therefore, creating a philosophy of homeschooling could not have crossed my mind.
Helping You Through My Homeschool Blog and Podcast
One of the many reasons that I blog and share the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast is to help homeschooling parents like you avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made throughout my years as a homeschooling parent.
I also want to help you replicate my homeschool successes. While I’ve done some things well, there are many things I could have done better.
Rather than keeping my experiences to myself, I prefer to take the lessons I’ve learned and am continuing to learn so that I can help other parents succeed in homeschooling their own children.
Whether you have younger children or older children, it’s never too late to think about your own philosophy and create your own roadmap to homeschool success.
Why Create Your Own Homeschooling Philosophy?
Here are reasons that you might want to create your own philosophy of homeschooling.
- Vision. You can align your homeschooling philosophy with the vision you have for your life and your family.
- Family values. As homeschool parents, we have the ability to choose a particular method of home education that is a best fit with our family’s values.
- Educational goals. The variety of homeschool methods and curriculum choices are as numerous as the great books at your local library.
More Reasons to Create Your Own Homeschool Philosophy
- Save time. You can save much time by avoiding curriculum or activities that don’t align with your philosophy.
- Save money. Yep! You’ll also save money when you don’t spend your resources on educational items or activities that don’t fit into your long-term vision for your homeschool family.
- Have more fun. Yes! Homeschooling can be fun. Your children do not have to follow a traditional method of education or do online school Monday through Friday. Core subjects like social studies and language arts can be taught through experiential learning opportunities, innovative homeschool curriculum, unit studies, and a variety of other homeschooling methods.
Your Homeschool Philosophy
By the end of this article, I hope that you will understand that a homeschooling philosophy is important because it’s your roadmap to homeschooling your children more effectively over the years. This guide will help you decide how you want to go about homeschooling your kids. It will help you prioritize what’s most important each day. It can even be a resource as you schedule your day, week, month, and even the entire year.
HomeSchool ThinkTank Happenings!
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Where My Homeschool Philosophy Originates
I’m going to introduce my philosophy of homeschooling. Here’s the deal. You might agree or disagree with me, and that’s alright. What’s important is that you know what matters to you and that you create a philosophy around homeschooling that aligns with your family’s values.
Before I share my philosophy, I want to briefly explain where I’m coming from. Now, you may have been reading our blog and listening to the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast for a while and know some of these things already. However, if you’re new around here, this bit of background will be helpful to you.
While I’m the founder of HomeSchool ThinkTank and host of the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast, there’s more that you might like to know.
- I used to be an elementary physical education teacher.
- While waiting for a physical education position to open up, I worked at a nationally accredited daycare. As a result of this job, I discovered that I loved working with very young children.
- I’ve homeschooled my kids since the day they were born.
- Oh…I’ve had challenges too. My youngest daughter went to private school for a year and a half before returning to homeschooling.
- My oldest daughter recently graduated as a homeschooled high school student. She never went to public school, but she did take college classes in her high school years.
- I’ve been learning about and thinking about homeschooling for the last 18 years. I’ve continued learning and thinking about school, education, learning, parenting, and homeschooling very deeply since I founded HomeSchool ThinkTank in 2018.
- While I’ve had many challenges as a homeschooling parent, I still believe that homeschooling is an outstanding opportunity for families. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes along the way, and I’m far from being the perfect homeschool mom.
- I want to help you avoid the pitfalls I’ve experienced, AND I want to help you replicate my successes too.
My experience, education, and observations of both successful and not-so-successful homeschooling families have led me to create the following philosophy of homeschooling.
My Philosophy of Homeschooling
I think that as homeschooling families, we need to focus on three things.
You might hear me abbreviating this as CCE. Again, that’s connection, community, then education.
Any parent, and certainly a homeschooling parent, should focus on their connection with their child before they focus on the curriculum. I believe this to be true whether you are following a classical education model, John Holt’s idea of unschooling your kids, or you consider yourself to be an eclectic homeschooling family.
As a result of my own experiences, I came up with the following phrase.
Connection Before Curriculum
From my own experience, I can tell you that when you put curriculum before connection, it creates problems.
I believe that, first and foremost, we should focus on our connection with our children.
Now, I do have more to say about connection, and you can visit this article and podcast episode to learn more.
Do You Need Help Connecting With Your Kids?
Join our next live workshop where you can ask questions and receive guidance too.
If you are new to homeschooling, one of the first things you’ll want to do is join a community of other true homeschooling families as quickly as possible.
You’ll want to have two types of homeschool communities. You’ll want both a local and an online homeschool community.
Local Homeschool Group
For both yourself & your children’s sake, you need a local community of like-minded homeschool families to gather with. You’ll want to schedule playdates, educational activities, and field trips together. This will be a group of homeschooling parents that you will gather with to support one another, learn together, and have fun with.
There is a saying, “You become like the five people that you spend the most time with.”
I believe that this is true. If you want to continue to homeschool your kids for years to come, then you need to be friends with other homeschooling families.
Online Homeschool Parenting Group
There are several reasons that you should consider being part of an online homeschool parenting group.
- Ask Questions & Receive Feedback. Ask questions and receive feedback fairly quickly. Sometimes you might have questions that you don’t want to ask people you know. In addition, you might want to hear a variety of perspectives on any given topic that concerns homeschooling families.
- Unique Circumstances. Sometimes you might be in a situation that is not very common where you live. While you may have difficulty finding others who are experiencing a similar situation near you, you might be able to find others who you can relate with you online.
- Limited Mobility. If you or a child has limited mobility, meeting other homeschool families might be a challenge for you. Not only can you meet people in an online group, but you might meet people where you live through regional online groups.
- Visiting With Other Adults. Online parenting groups sometimes have an interactive component as well. You can learn more about HomeSchool ThinkTank’s online community here.
- Friendships. Sometimes online connections turn into real-life friendships.
As a homeschool parent, you want to educate your children and help them develop a lifelong love of learning. And while education is important, it can look very different than it does in the public school system.
There are many different approaches and different styles of homeschooling. Below are a few homeschooling methods that you might want to learn more about.
Different Styles of Homeschooling
- True Homeschooling
- Note about K12 Programs
- Eclectic Homeschooling
- Three Steps to Learning
- Traditional School-At-Home-Model
- Teacher-Led Model
- Curriculum Based Method
- Classical Education Model
- Unit Studies Approach
- Project-Based Learning
- Outdoor Learning Models
- Forest Schooling
- Child-Led Learning
- Radical Unschooling
CCE = Homeschool Success
In my opinion, CCE equals homeschool success.
I believe that connection, community, and education are the secret sauce to homeschooling your kids effectively and successfully for many years.
Looking back, I wish I would have had this philosophy from day number one. That’s why I’m sharing it with you.
HomeSchool ThinkTank’s Philosophy of Homeschooling
CCE is a good homeschooling philosophy. However, I want you to think about your own philosophy of homeschooling.
Maybe you’ll adopt the HomeSchool ThinkTank homeschool philosophy, or maybe you’ll create your own. Either way, your philosophy will guide you throughout your homeschooling years and days.
While you might adjust your philosophy over time, going through this thought process will help you be more mindful and intentional with your approach as you homeschool your children.
Your Philosophy for Homeschooling
Now it’s time for you to start thinking about your own philosophy for homeschooling.
What do you believe is most important when it comes to homeschooling your kids? Take a quick moment and jot down what comes to mind for you.
Then take note of how you are doing things right now. Simply observe yourself and your homeschooling family in a mindful way.
Over the next week, take note of your own thoughts. Create your own philosophy or set of guidelines, and start making small changes that align with this philosophy.
Your Action Steps
Below you’ll find a downloadable worksheet called Your Guiding Principles. Really, that’s what your homeschool philosophy is. It’s a set of guiding principles that helps you make decisions about how you approach homeschooling your children.
If you need help creating your homeschool philosophy, then join our next live workshop. In the meantime, here are your next steps.
- Download the Worksheet. Click here to download Your Guiding Principles worksheet. Your guiding principles are your homeschool philosophy.
- Write It Down. Write your guiding principles or philosophy of homeschooling on the downloadable worksheet.
- Hang Your Worksheet. You’ll want to hang the Your Guiding Principles worksheet where it’s obvious so that you’ll see it daily.
- Alarm. Set an alarm to go off three times a day. Label the alarm with keywords for your philosophy. Let your philosophy help guide your decisions.
- Join the Next Live Workshop. At HomeSchool ThinkTank, we offer live workshops most months. Learn about the next workshop here.
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