How To Develop A Homeschool Mission Statement
One of the most important concepts to teach your children involves having a sense of direction in life. Ambitions without goals are merely dreams. Many companies, churches, schools, and even families have mission statements. Creating a mission statement for your homeschool can also be useful.
A homeschool mission statement is like a compass that guides your course. When referred to regularly, it helps to shape the goals you set and the decisions you make that lead to your destination. By defining timeless values that do not change, it provides direction for strategies that do change.
A homeschool mission statement proclaims the reason and purpose of your homeschool. It describes its desired effect upon family members. The mission statement incorporates values, principles, and philosophies. It should be positive, uplifting, and empowering. It may include ends (goal) and means (how to go about achieving those goals), that specify how the mission is to be accomplished day by day and into the future.
The homeschool mission statement should be one that can be visualized and communicated. It must contain meaningful principles from which no one is exempt. If you write it down and post it where everyone will see it, you're more likely to live up to its standards. When placed as a focal point on the wall, it will be a constant reminder of why you chose to homeschool. It will also be a convenient way to inform visitors of your commitment to the education of your children.
The first step in planning a homeschool mission statement is for all members of the family, including children, to sit down together and have a brainstorming session. It is best to choose a leisurely time when people are more likely to be in a reflective state of mind. Use a notebook, chalkboard, marker board, or large paper pad on an easel for writing down ideas. At this point, welcome all thoughts and do not allow comments to be made about the validity of any suggestion. Listen respectfully and record everyone's expressions accurately. Be patient, as this process will take time. It is important to get everyone's input, because where there is no involvement in the drafting of the mission statement, there will be no commitment.
As a starting point, here are some questions to ponder and discuss: Why did we decide to homeschool? What does being a homeschooling family mean to us? What is the vision and purpose of our homeschool? What is our purpose in life? What things are most important to us as a family? What are the priorities on which we want our family to focus (such as trust, honesty, kindness, service)? What guiding principles and values do we want our family to live by? What competencies do we want our children to develop (physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, spiritually)? What is our responsibility in caring for our children? What kind of home environment do we want our children to grow up in? What great historical figures have inspired us? What are our dreams for the future?
Think about the above issues and talk about them. Separate responses into categories based on their themes. Divide them into goals (what you are striving for) and action items (things to do to reach the goals). Shorten the list by deciding which are the main recurring themes and by combining similar ideas. Keep going over the list of suggestions and re-writing them until everyone agrees on what your homeschool mission statement should include. Each family member has to ultimately agree, since working together toward the same vision is vital for a homeschool to function properly.
Never copy someone else's mission statement in an attempt to make it yours. Their mission statement reflects their unique style and point of view, as yours must reflect your own. Your homeschool mission statement will have a special meaning for your family that goes far beyond the meaning it would have for anyone else. Each part of it will remind you of the many discussions you had on that topic.
A homeschool mission statement does not have to conform to any set of rules. It may be in the form of prose or poetry. It can be a phrase, a sentence, or an entire page. It may incorporate a picture, symbol, or motto. A homeschool mission statement may be based on a Bible verse or other suitable quotation. Bible verses relating to homeschooling include:
Keep your homeschool mission statement simple. This does not necessarily mean short, although it can be, but make it something everyone understands and will remember. A mission statement has to be written in the heart and mind as well as on paper. When family members have internalized the principles of the mission statement, they can sense the appropriate practices that pertain to each special situation.
Once you have developed your homeschool mission statement, you and your children must follow it. Your homeschool mission statement should be a "living" document. Don't just file it away--use it, review it, memorize it. Use the homeschool mission statement to help you stay on the right course. By comparing your actions to the mission statement, you can tell if you are straying off the path. If you have difficulties, the mission statement helps you get back on track by motivating you to make course corrections.
By placing the homeschool mission statement in your school room or in a prominent place where the family gathers, it will be a constant reminder of your homeschool's purpose and principles. Look at it often and regularly consider how you are conducting your homeschool in accordance with the homeschool mission statement.
Each homeschool mission statement embraces a personal heart-and-soul emotion, while the public school statements all have a sterile written-by-committee feel. They are full of politically-correct bureaucratic gobbledygook seemingly designed more to confuse than enlighten.
There is nothing in the public school mission statements for which anyone can be held accountable. The school boards donít want to take a chance on offending anybody, so consequently their mission statements mean nothing.
A writer once stated "Tolerance is the virtue of people who do not believe in anything." In other words, when we become so accommodating that we don't even recognize or oppose evil, our moral decline is evident.
Stand up for your principles. Inscribe them on your doorposts. Use the public school mission statements as examples of how NOT to write your homeschool mission statement.
by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill
How to Develop a Family Mission Statement,
The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement For Work and For Life,
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(These pages are updated continuously.)
(These pages are updated continuously.)