Where Do I Begin (in Homeschooling)?
There are a lot of places to start. You can ask the advice of your friends who homeschool, you can research, you can google, you can buy books, you can compare curricula, you can poll your kids.
My suggestion is this: get a pad and pen, sit down, and start working on what you want to see after your kids have finished their home education. In the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this process is described as beginning with the end in mind.
You want to ask yourself, “What kind of students do I want to produce for this world?” If you value character, that might shape your approach a certain way. If you want your children to be able to work hands-on with tools, that might take you in a particular direction concerning shops and mechanics. If your end goal is to have academic children, especially reading and writing abstract thoughts or mathematics or science—you want to determine what you really want to produce!
Beginning with the end in mind is important because it sets the frame for your schooling. I can tell you what we settled on. We wanted to raise happy adults, not necessarily happy kids. That was a bonus, but our goal was to produce happy adults who could teach themselves. In order to do that, we tried to balance education between art and science and literature. That was our conviction, because we were trying to grow self-taught self-learners.
So where do you begin? I say you begin with a blank sheet of paper, just like an artist with a blank canvas, and start trying to think through what you want your endgame to look like. That’s going to help you pick curriculum, clubs, support, and additional tools for your kids more than anything. Spend time with that and keep revisiting it regularly, because you’ll refine that vision, that picture, of how you want these kids to turn out.
-Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand