Graduation Goals and a Long Term Vision

Everywhere I read these days, well not everywhere but all the homeschool blogs, are talking about what programs, curriculum & learning systems families are using.


I love reading these posts, feeling excited for the families on their educational journeys and hoping to glean something to add to our own. But then I get sucked in the comparison trap, that is oh so easy to fall into. Dang, when will I ever learn!

Homemaking, blogging, photography, soap making, cooking, homeschooling. You name it, someone out there does it better than I do. This shouldn't bother me and most days it doesn't but then... you know, we all feel insecure sometimes.


Last week, during the emotional throes of seasonal transition, Damien came home from work one night to find me brooding in the kitchen. When he asked how I was I said, "ok, I'm going to share some insecurities with you and I don't want you to solve these problems. I don't want you to suggest a different course of action - unless after a few days of thought you really think that's what needs to be done. I just want you to hear me out".

Having stated my grounds I let out all the pent up doubts & questions I was experiencing last week.

A week spent planning, organizing and dreaming for the upcoming school year. I won't go into all the gory details but when it was all said and done my dear husband said the following which was all I needed to hear, "Everything you do, you do really well. I have no reason to think you approach homeschooling our children any different."

Phew. You know, he's right. I'm not perfect but I give my all to my family and home. I am doing a good job homeschooling these kiddos, eclectic and unconventional though it may be.

house helping

So last week, on a night after everyone was in bed and all I could hear was the crickets outside I wrote out graduation goals for our kiddos. Later in the week I came across learning objectives I have written in years past and although not much has changed the fresh re-wording was a useful exercise.

When our children graduate our homeschool we want them to have:

  • An understanding of who they are, an awareness of their gifts that can be used to help and serve others, and to see their place (one of love and mutual need) within our family and community.
  • A strong foundation in our faith of loving God, following Jesus, loving people and their unique place within the church.
  • A working, hands-on knowledge of successful home and family life.
  • A healthy body, spirit and mind to fulfill whatever it is God has for them to do.
  • A basic knowledge of the world through the lenses of history, geography, nature, science, math, music, art, language (& other disciplines). Learning in these disciplines to be taken to the point necessary for further studies if they should so choose.
  • The ability to process information, solve problems, communicate and make sound decisions.
  • A respect and appreciation for and comfort in the natural world.
  • A life long sense of adventure and hope.

In short, we want our children to have what every good parent hopes to instill:

the roots our children need to feel secure and the wings they need to fly.

In writing these goals I realized that we are working towards them each day. Whether the children have narrated an interesting passage from a history book, solved a sum, written a journal entry or not. And so writing out these goals was a very useful exercise that reassured me and helped to re-orient our navigational needle in the right direction.


I'm in the school groove right now (can you tell?) so I plan to follow up this post with another one about our early years philosophy and a separate post about the changes we are making as the kids get older, Celine specifically. But what I am really looking forward to writing about is our new drawing lessons and art supplies! So stay tuned.

If you have any specific questions, let me know and I might be able to work them into the coming posts.

Resource Library

« The late summer transition to fall
New Art Supplies and Drawing with Children »
  • kyndale

    kyndale on Sept. 15, 2009, 8:32 p.m.

    Renee, I am right there with you! I think you are a wonderful Mom and teacher to your children! I wish I could be more like you..smar,creative, energetic and organized. You may not feel that way, but that's how I see you. I had a yucky day today. Not much book learning today. I'm just trying to survive. But, I believe, there will be days like today. Tomorrow's a new day. Smiles, Kyndale


  • nicola

    nicola on Sept. 16, 2009, 4:20 a.m.

    renee, are you speaking to me directly right now? we are soooo on the same page, my friend. i couldn't agree with damien more. you are an incredible mamma, teacher, wife, homemaker, and creative woman. i am inspired by you each day, because what you post is grounded in reality. none of us are perfect,even the bloggers who appear to be. my eco-insecurities lately (the ones i have posted about) have all been based on readings on waldorf and montessori blogs. i see some of my tendencies there (although definitely not all) and feel as thought you either are or you aren't (waldorf or montessori). if you have any plastics, you aren't. i never considered homeschooling until recently. i felt it wasn't for me. but, recently, as lala approached school age, i have been drawn more and more to it as the idea of public school (and private are not financially an option for us) became more and more daunting. as it turns out, i think (and hope) we have found a school that is the right fit. for now. it is the 'for now' part AND my understanding and belief that home is the root of education, so regardless of her being in public school, mike and i are still responsible for educating our children in some (many) capacity(ies) at home. thank you, renee, for keeping it real and posting so intelligently on so many fabulous topics. nicola

    nicola's last blog post... goodbye summer. hello autumn.


  • Rana

    Rana on Sept. 16, 2009, 12:30 p.m.

    Renee, Your timing is impeccable. I have been wanting to post about where we are going and if I'm on the right track. Your goals are great and you can see it through your post you are heading in the right direction with your family. Your husband is right you would never do anything that would be bad for your kids. Keep up the excellent work you are a great inspiration to a lot of mommy's out here in blogworld.


    Rana's last blog post... Let's go to the movies...


  • Kika

    Kika on Sept. 16, 2009, 10:13 p.m.

    I definitely think we all have these insecurities. The funny thing is, my husband teaches in the public school system and so I am aware of all the time that is wasted or lost to sick students (think swine flu!); guest speakers... teachers rarely get to finish their curriculum and that's just normal. Yet, we homeschool mums dedicate ourselves to an educational lifestyle and still never feel we're doing "enough". As we head closer to high-school a new type of insecurity arises - a whole new set of questions and a heavier work load.

    Your set of long-term goals or values for your kids is great...sometimes I forget our major goals and instead focus on "finishing this math text" which is pointless, in and of itself. I think I will sit down this fall and write out my bigger vision for my three kids. There is freedom in this and also a new responsibility to ensure we're not just pushing kids through someone else's 'hoops' but thoughtfully and prayerfully preparing them for a well-balanced adulthood (and also remembering to take joy in the journey!)


  • kate

    kate on Sept. 16, 2009, 10:25 p.m.

    Ah Renee, it is so nice to read the honest and from-the-heart truths in this post. I definitely have those days, especially because the community of homeschoolers I am surrounded by all seem to do it better than I do;). Your graduation goals are an absolutely beautiful exercise, and I am going to wait till the crickets are chirping away here tonight, settle down, and do the exact same thing. And the lovely simple desire to give our children both roots and wings-- what more could anyone ask for? Something tells you are doing things just right, mama, just right.


  • shelli

    shelli on Sept. 17, 2009, 12:37 a.m.

    I love this post because I haven't even started homeschooling yet, and I am already feeling insecure about it!!! I know this feeling will come and go.

    Thanks for stopping by my new blog and your nice compliments. :)


  • Naomi

    Naomi on Sept. 18, 2009, 5:27 p.m.

    I tried responding to this post right after you wrote it, but for some reason I couldn't see the captcha, so I wasn't able to click send. Anyway, thank you for writing this. I am tempted to think the same thing, as I'm sure most if not all mothers do at some point in time. My favorite teacher once said that if she could teach her students how to learn (and enjoy doing it), then she had succeeded. This has stuck with me because I have realized that it doesn't matter if you do all the right things, buy all the right things, do all the right activities or crafts, in the end all that matters are that your kids are healthy, happy, are productive, and enjoy life to the fullest. And by the way, this teacher was certainly "unconventional" and loved taking us into the woods outback for science lessons. My kids are obviously nowhere near ready for school lessons, being only 3 and 13 months, but I do try to stretch their minds with new ideas and activities. If you have any posts about your early years with the kids, I'd love to read them for ideas!


  • Gardenmama

    Gardenmama on Sept. 24, 2009, 4:08 a.m.

    I started reading your most recent post and just kept reading until this post and I had to stop to comment! I am also a homeschool mama and I appreciate reading about your thoughts and dreams for your family, it sounds just beautiful to me! I look forward to reading more of your future posts, we can all certainly learn alot from eachother. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this space, I enjoyed reading!


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