What is your definition of homeschooling success? If you read The 5 Homeschool Resolutions, this may be easy to answer since you probably spent some time considering the question. If it’s a question you haven’t given much thought to, you should know that success is different for each homeschooling parent. What you want for your children will probably differ in some ways from what other parents want for theirs.
Your definition may also change over time as you become better acquainted with homeschooling and discover how your children are adapting to this dynamic educational experience. In the broader scope of things, you probably want your children to achieve a solid command of the basics such as arithmetic, reading, science, history, and writing. From there, things vary from parent to parent. Let’s take a look at the different ways parents define success.
Boldly going forth in the world
Many parents started homeschooling their children because they wanted to get them out of the standard classroom setting and rigid scheduling of traditional school in order to discover new things. For example, Jana, who homeschools her 15-year-old son, noticed how good he was at tinkering with engines. So, she started homeschooling him once high school began and, at the same time, found a local automotive shop whose owner agreed to mentor him.
He now learns the core courses at home and works at the shop three times a week. The young man who always felt he was destined to become a mechanic is considering other career options because he’s learning more and more about engineering and the intricacies of modern engines. He also discovered the impact computers have in newer model cars. He is boldly going forth as Jana and her husband watch him grow more confident and experienced at things he could never have experienced in a traditional school setting. Exposing their son to all the possibilities within his passion is what defines success in their homeschool.
Discovering your purpose
According to Kendall Bronk, author of Purpose in Life: A Critical Component of Optimal Youth Development, purpose has four defining features: dedicated commitment, personal meaningfulness, goal-directedness, and a vision bigger than self.
As a homeschooler, you have the ability to nurture each of these elements and the flexibility to dream with your children, find out what interests them, and what purpose they can play in this world. You also have the power to ease the rigorous schedule that so many children endure from kindergarten through 12th grade, thereby giving them time to find “personal meaningfulness.”
And since your children won’t be bothered as much by the endless peer pressure experienced in traditional schools, they won’t feel such a strong need for acceptance. They are free to discover their own vision and break from the expectations of not only the traditional school system, but what their peers expect from them.
Here’s another benefit, further research also found that children who pursue a purpose are happier and have greater life satisfaction levels. Wouldn’t you define that as successful?
If you think becoming truly happy sounds like a lofty goal, you’re right. But many homeschoolers believe giving their children room to boldly go forth and discover their purpose not only empowers them, it also makes them happy. Of course, not every day will be filled with happiness. Every homeschooler experiences their own ups and downs, but when you look at the big picture, any parent who believes their children are happy would say they are a success.
Here’s more proof: A study by the National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, revealed homeschoolers are happier, healthier and perform better academically and socially. One reason why — they get more sleep. That simple fact plays right into a homeschool benefit you can harness and use to your advantage — flexibility. Homeschooling lets you create your own customized schedule, a schedule that fits your children’s personality and learning habits. They don’t have to wake up in the dark and rush through breakfast, or skip it all together, to catch the bus and then return home exhausted.
Defining your own success is a personal thing. No one can tell you what success is, it’s something you must define for yourself. It could be helping your child get accepted to college, or become a successful business person, or a person who helps others, or lives life to the fullest. Maybe it’s all of the above. Take your time and think about it and remember, success comes in many forms.