Purposeful Homeschooling

Purposeful Homeschooling

Lifeschooling encourages character, connection, curiosity, and creativity

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. Lots of books and summers off sounded like a good plan. More than that, I had had a series of bad experiences in public school and I wanted to make a difference somehow. I wanted to be the kind of teacher that I wished I’d had myself.

Enter the concept of homeschooling. I first heard about it when I was about 12, but it didn’t seem like a real possibility — or even legal. By the time our oldest daughter was born, I had done my research. My husband and I knew that we would homeschool when the time came. The reasons we made the decision to homeschool are numerous, but how we came to lifeschooling is a little bit more subtle.

Adopting a Lifeschooling Philosophy

The public school schedule was pretty firmly ingrained in my mind when I first started homeschooling my daughter. Summer break, Christmas break, Easter break — they all just seemed like a natural choice. I’ll admit that part of it stemmed from my fear of being “too different” from other kids in the family or in the neighborhood. Following the traditional school schedule could save us from too many questions of “Why aren’t you in school?” or “Are you excited for summer break?”

As a new homeschooling mom, I lacked the confidence or even the basic realization that the forced schedule was a big part of why public school wouldn’t work for us in the first place.

I stuck with that forced schedule all through the first year and over halfway into the second. Up until our second daughter was born. Then a move to a new house and having our third daughter in a span of just two years made me re-think the schedule altogether.

The reasons we made the decision to homeschool are numerous, but how we came to lifeschooling is a little bit more subtle.

The Freedom to be Flexible

Because life was busy and chaotic, I felt that we were “falling behind” when we didn’t stick to the schedule. (That was a problem I purely invented, by the way, because we didn’t actually fall behind.) I was fighting a perception that didn’t really apply to us because I thought I had to conform to that traditional school schedule and mindset.

With a few years of homeschooling under my belt and two more children in the family, I had gained the confidence I needed to finally re-evaluate and do what I knew was best: break free from arbitrary school schedules and embrace learning as a lifestyle that lasted year-round.

I moved from prepared curriculum to living books and delight-directed learning. I designed activities and lessons that were inspired by my daughters’ unique interests, talents, and creativity. Homeschooling became much more purposeful, much more natural. Specific academic goals relaxed into life experiences, character building opportunities, creative projects, and encouraging their God-given curiosity. We made connections naturally — with learning, with the world, with each other, and with God.

What did we gain when we gave up the typical schedule and fully embraced lifeschooling?

  • The freedom to follow interests in learning without worrying about accomplishing a certain task at a certain time.
  • The freedom to take time off whenever we need to. For just about as long as we need to because there is no “catching up” to be done.
  • A renewed eagerness to learn because it is fun rather than a chore to be completed in a certain time frame.
  • Less time spent on review because we don’t “lose” information over summer breaks or other periods of rest.
  • A lifestyle of learning that isn’t forced to take place between September and June alone.

Those are some of the major benefits to lifeschooling. There are other perks, like traveling during the off-season when the prices are lower and there are no crowds, too.

The reasons we made the decision to homeschool are numerous, but how we came to lifeschooling is a little bit more subtle.

Does it really work for us?

I recommend that all homeschoolers ask themselves this question. Add to that a few more questions until you’re sure that your homeschool philosophy and what really benefits your children line up. Some questions you may want to ask yourself are:

  • Does our current schedule and style of homeschooling really work best for us or am I just doing it out of habit?
  • Am I afraid to make changes?
  • Am I working with our strengths and interests or fighting them?

In our family, lifeschooling set us free of artificial schedules and opened up our whole lifestyle of learning.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, lost sight of your original reasons for homeschooling, are wondering what to do next in your homeschool, you need a vision for your homeschool. Check out the Purposeful Homeschooling: Cultivating Your Homeschool Vision workbook.

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Sara Jordan

Sara is a homeschooling mom of three girls. She writes at Heart and Soul Homeschooling, sharing ideas for learning that encourage creativity, curiosity, character, and connection. She is an author, speaker, and homeschool consultant. You can find her on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon author page.
Sara Jordan

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6 Comments
  • I love taking them outside to do trail walks and see what He has given us

  • Scheduling, unscheduling, flexibility, structure….these things have been circling my head since I started homeschooling 6 years ago. I’m still struggling to find what works for me and my kiddos. Since then, I’ve added 5 more to the homeschool. Its vital that I find a vision this summer, so we can have a better year.

    • Vision can definitely be key, in my opinion. Once you have that settled in your mind, other decisions become less difficult because you weigh them all against your mission statement.

      That’s why I wrote the Purposeful Homeschooling workbook to help other homeschool families work through these ideas. 🙂 It’s my passion to help others find peace with their purpose in homeschooling.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Thank you for writing this. I’m constantly struggling with ALL of this and need the reminders of being purposeful. The WHY, and the WHEN, added to the WHAT, and HOW we approach and learn in our home need to be in my face all of the time. I’ve been on every side of the desk, and KNOW what we are doing in right for us, but the freedom we have is something I struggle to remember. Habits are so hard to break, and the fact that I don’t just want ‘school at home’ for my children is difficult for us to consistently steer away from because I am comfortable with traditional. Thank you again for this. I’ve got this bookmarked to intentionally read often.

    • I’m so glad this was helpful to you! I do think that we all need reminders from time to time, just to keep our vision and purpose in mind. We wouldn’t go on a journey without a map and compass so it just makes sense that this homeschool journey requires the same kind of things to keep us on track. You’ve got this!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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