How to Plan Your Homeschool as an Intentional Couple
How to Plan Your Homeschool as an Intentional Couple
It can happen at any moment. Either you or your spouse feel the nudge to homeschool your child. And eventually the other one comes on board with the whole idea. All of the mixed feelings wash over you and overlap like ocean waves: exuberance, insecurities, confidence, fear, boldness, concerns, and joy. Did I name them all? While agreeing to homeschool is the first step, it takes more than that to make it work. And to help ensure a strong finish line. So, here’s how to plan your homeschool as an intentional couple.
Defining the Roles
Let’s face it, the “we” in “we homeschool” typically isn’t a portion of equal teaching time. Naturally, one parent ends up working full-time. While the other ends up being one parent who takes on most of the responsibilities of teaching. Or sometimes the other parent is contributing to the family income with part-time work. In any case, one parent tends to bear more weight when it comes to educating the child.
However, this doesn’t mean that the educational duties all have to fall on one parent or mostly on one parent. Here are some things to consider when intentionally planning the roles:
- Primary Teacher. Likely one of you will be this individual.
- Secondary Teacher. For some families, the secondary teacher takes on subjects the primary teacher can’t or doesn’t want to.
- Accountability. It can be challenging for the primary teacher to also have to be the accountability figure. In many instances, it helps both the primary teacher and the students if the secondary teacher holds the child accountable.
- Grading. Once high school roles around, grading is inevitable. Either the workload for this can be split, or the secondary teacher can take care of it. (What else are lunch breaks for? Napping?)
Getting to Know Your Child as an Individual
Each person is uniquely made by their maker, God. Indeed, our Heavenly Father has a Principle of Individuality. And as a part of the journey of parenting, we have the joy of discovering the individuality of each of our children. As such, we can take note of:
- Gifts. While spiritual gifts are given when one receives Christ, they also need to be cultivated. As parents, we can help our children cultivate their gifts as we shepherd them in their spiritual walk.
- Talents. Being made in the image of God, everyone has some kind of talent. What a joy to observe our children and pray for opportunities to help them develop their talents.
- Interests. Sooner or later, we see our child’s interests emerge. And what better way to encourage them in their learning than to help foster their interests?
- Abilities. With the understanding that every individual is unique, we can accept the different abilities that our children have. Forget comparing your child to other people’s children. Your child is fitted with his or her abilities for God’s glory.
- Learning Style. If you don’t know your child’s learning style, take heart. There are several resources available to help you. And once you can tailor your teaching to your child’s learning style, lessons will go smoother for both of you.
- Personality. A book that may be helpful to you to learn your child’s personality type is, Nurture by Nature written by Barbara Barron-Tieger and Paul D. Tieger.
All of these areas help us to tailor our child’s education to fit who they are.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines education as:
“The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.“
Therefore, as parents you need to be intentional about how you will:
- Instruct your child. And do this according to his or her individuality.
- Manners Matter. Help to form his or her manners.
- Teach him or her to have self-discipline. That is to say, self-government.
- Correct the temper. And this is done by teaching them about what God’s Word says regarding temper and teaching emotional intelligence.
- Aid them in forming good habits in their youth. For sure, this includes chores, self-governance, health and wellness, and their tastes in reading materials.
- Fitting them for usefulness in their future stations. To be sure, this includes life skills. But it doesn’t stop there. It also includes tailoring their education toward what they want to do in life for serving and working.
- Both the arts and sciences are important. So, it’s important to study your child to see what he or she shows interest in both of these areas.
- Religious education must not be neglected. Needless to say, this means sharing the Gospel with your child. Furthermore, it means genuinely living the Gospel, too.
Surveying the Future Backwards
There are several things to consider. And the point of working backwards to help you plan so you can move forward.
- The end goal in mind. Once you have an end goal, you have a way to move forward. This may be a helpful quote to encourage you one your journey: “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, but never the goal.” -Author Unknown
- Character. What kind of character do you want to see your child have? How will you create an environment that helps to develop your child’s character?
- Memories. What kind of memories do you want for yourself and your child? While we can’t control every aspect of life, we can choose how we’ll think and respond to things that come our way. Consider your internal dialogue when things get rough and how it effects your external actions. Plus, consider what kind of moments you want to share together.
- Graduation. Depending on your child’s personality type, he or she may want their graduation to look differently than you do. For sure, this is a moment for both of you. But see what you can agree on to bless and honor each other once this monumental moment arrives.
It takes time and planning but it’s worth it. And it’s best when accomplished together: “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (KJV).