Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom
Homeschooling families recognize, at least in theory, that one of the beauties of the lifestyle we live is the freedom it gives us.
I definitely feel this way. In spite of the messes and challenges, laundry and to-do lists, each day I marvel that my family gets to craft this life and all its details according to what best meets our needs and goals.
This became especially clear on our recent trip overseas, during which we spent a month in England and my husband and I traveled to Italy. The fact that we had the flexibility to arrange this trip in the middle of the “school year” was just the first of many benefits we noticed.
Gazing up at York Minster
Before leaving a few friends asked if we planned to “do school” while away. My honest answer was, “Does it matter?” I knew we’d be learning all the time–no matter what activities we chose.
Sure enough, though we rarely opened the books or curricula I took along, our trip had quite a few lessons in store:
- understanding a new culture
- developing relationships with extended family
- playing with and entertaining babies and younger children
- making friends in new places
- giving us all (kids and parents alike) a bigger vision for our future
While coming back through customs upon re-entry in the United States, I watched from behind as Steve led the way and the kids followed. Steve rapidly wheeled his carry-on through the lines like a pro (He travels a lot with his work for Love146) while Trishna, Jonathan, and Elijah, laden with their backpacks, ran and skipped, trying to catch up.
We finally reached the customs agent, who asked Steve and me, “Are you all in one family?”
“Yep,” we answered–then smiled knowingly at his kind, but raised eyebrows response. We get that question a lot.
In that moment, I had an overwhelming feeling of confirmation–yes, we certainly are one family! And this crazy, traveling, learning, unique, global life we lead is exactly who we are and are made to be. It’s part of what defines us, part of our mission.
Who are you?
That’s who our family is created to be, but it isn’t necessarily what is best or ideal for you and yours.
Each family has a different heartbeat, a different focus, a different calling.
Use these ten questions to help discover yours:
- What cause gets our family excited?
- What activities bond and unite us?
- What do we want to pass on to our children?
- What contribution are we called to make as a family unit?
- What do we want our legacy to be?
- How would we spend a day that is open and free? (How families spend spare time is often a good clue to how you bond and learn together.)
- What time-wasters do we need to eliminate from our lives to be able to devote more time to these goals?
- How can I best inspire my children to embrace this activity or vision?
- What basics do we need to study and learn about in order to be prepared to fulfill our family’s mission?
- What can I do today to take one small step in the right direction?
A homeschooling lifestyle is much, much more than a schedule of duties and assignments to cover. If you are plodding through days merely checking off boxes, you are missing out! We literally have the world at our doorstep, begging to be discovered.
Find out who you are as a family, and you’ll discover what brings life and energy to your home, equipping you to continue homeschooling for the long haul, and more importantly–to actually enjoy it.
I wrote extensively about our trip on Steady Mom if you’re interested in specifics. We were inspired along the way by Beatrix Potter, Robin Hood, the Bronte sisters, Florence and Tuscany, and much more! So incredibly thankful for the opportunity and the flexibility of homeschooling that allowed us to take advantage of it all.
Fill in the blank & let’s discuss in the comments: I think our family’s specific mission and purpose is _____________________.