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 for 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.
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 has 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.
Many of the bullet points above have articles or podcast episodes that go 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.
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 successes. I’ve done some things well, and there are certainly things I could have done better. Rather than keeping my experiences to myself, I’d like to take the lessons I’ve learned and am continuing to learn and help other homeschool families 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 some 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.
- 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.
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, months, and even the entire year.
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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.
Here’s a quick bit about me in a nutshell.
- 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 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 17 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 has 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 here me abbreviate 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 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, but we’re going to save that for another day. For purposes of this article, my educational philosophy prioritizes connecting with your children above community and education.
Do You Need Help Connecting With Your Kids?
Best-selling author & parenting expert, Dayna Abraham, offers an online parenting membership, courses, and an occasional free workshop. You can learn more about the Calm The Chaos course & parenting membership here.
Community & Education Clarification
In the past, I’ve shared a podcast episode with these components in a different order. I used to put education before community. My thought around this was that a homeschooling parent could organize community around educational components. Since then, I’ve changed my mind. As I consider the obstacles that a brand-new homeschooling parent has to overcome, I realize that if you are new to homeschooling, that you need to be in a community of other true homeschooling families as quickly as possible. If you want to create a community around specific educational objectives, you can do so at a later time.
I want to mention that when I say true homeschooling, I mean parents who have legally registered their children as homeschoolers. At HomeSchool ThinkTank, we don’t include doing public-school-at-home during COVID as true homeschooling. I mention this because the mindset and options of what I am calling true homeschoolers is very different from a parent who is helping their children do public school from home during COVID.
I want to move forward and focus on the community aspect of my homeschooling philosophy. I believe that creating a strong community for you and your family should be your second priority as a homeschooling parent. Of course you’ll have community around family, friends, and other activities. However, what I am talking about is a homeschooling community. You’ll want to have two types of communities. I believe that 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 homeschool 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 homeschool 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. I know, I have made more connections and friendships online than I ever thought I would.
As a homeschool family, you want to educate your children and help them develop a lifelong love of learning. Now, I don’t believe that education needs to look the way it does in private schools or 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
- HSTT’s Philosophy
- 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
- Podcast Episode: An Overview of Different Types of Homeschooling Styles
What Do You Believe About Education?
I believe that education can happen many, many, different ways. If you want to dive deeper into your beliefs about education and how this will impact your kids, please check out this Four Part Series entitled, What Do You Believe About Education? It might just open your eyes to a whole new way of thinking.
CCE = Homeschool Success
In my opinion CCE (connection, community, education) 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.
Connection, community, & education is a good homeschooling philosophy. However, I want you to think about your own philosophy of homeschooling. Maybe you’ll adopt my 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, you will have been more mindful and intentional with your approach to homeschooling your kids
Your Philosophy for Homeschooling
Now it’s time for you to start thinking about your 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
We’ve named the downloadable worksheet below as 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 family. I would like to encourage you to fill this out and share it in our community.
If you need help creating your homeschool philosophy, I reserve a few complimentary half hour calls most weeks. I genuinely enjoy visiting with people like you who read this blog, listen to the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast, and follow us on social media. Take a moment and book a call. I’m happy to help you on your homeschool journey.
- Download The Worksheet. Click here to download your Guiding Principles worksheet. Your guiding principles are your homeschool philosophy.
- Put It On Paper. Write your guiding principles or philosophy of homeschooling on the downloadable worksheet.
- Hang Your Worksheet. You’ll want to hang the Guiding Principles worksheet where it’s obvious and you’ll see it daily.
- Alarm. Set an alarm to go off 3 times a day. Label the alarm with keywords for your philosophy. Let your philosophy help guide your decisions.
- Online Community. Join our community and share your philosophy with us.
- Book A Call. Do you need a little help creating your own philosophy? Maybe you need help with another homeschooling challenge? Feel free to book a complimentary call here.
You Might Also Like These Articles & Podcast Episodes
- Connect with your kids using best-selling author, Dayna Abraham’s, Calm The Chaos Framework.
- Discover the differences between learning, school, & education.
- Learn about the Backpack Sciences Curriculum & online membership.
- If you’re thinking about homeschooling, you might want to read THINK HOMESCHOOL: Live & Learn Your Way.
- Learn more about the Homeschool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast.
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