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by Donna Heck



On the Wisdom's Way of Learning list [click here to find out more about this] Sherri Rimmer, the "list shepherdess," asked us about "vision." Specifically:  Do we have a vision (mission statement, purpose) for our families (education-wise and/or spiritual)?  And is it important that we do?  How do we fit our "personal vision" in with our "family vision"?  Are they the same?  Do we have a "one-size-fits-all" vision for our children?  Or do we have individual, tailored visions for each?  What do we need to know in order to create this "vision"?  Where and how do we start?
Let me begin with a quote from Marilyn Howshall that was shared on the Wisdom's Way of Learning list, and then I'll also share some quotes from Barb.
"The details of our daily lives are made up of seeds that we are sowing. Every decision, standard, value, method, spirit, or attitude is sowing a seed. What will it reap?  It is important to begin asking this question of all we do until we acquire understanding. Our seed sowing must come under the Holy Spirit's search light. Then we will honestly be able to determine our purpose and to set goals and write them down. Once our long term purpose and goals are set in place, we will be able to determine our academic approach, child training methods, and even our lifestyle values - an area probably in need of attention, as well. Those things we choose to do on a day-to-day basis will become a natural outgrowth of the vision we hold in our hearts and continue to set firmly in our minds. " (from the January 1997 newsletter and from the book Develop Vision For Your Family)

Barb says in Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+la
(page I-21) "The choices we make regarding homeschooling, whether at the beginning or throughout it as well, are going to be based completely upon our view of education...  So it is vital that our view be correct, or we will waste a lot of time, money, and effort, not to mention create problems that will take a lot of God's redeeming power to correct."
In preparing our children for their futures, what is more important - head knowledge or their hearts? Consider Barb's "Wisdom's 7 Pillars of True Education" for a moment.
(page I-21and 22 in the new 1999 edition of Form+U+La and also now here at her website.)
1) Revelation of the Knowledge of God and His will
2) Intimate, personal Relationship and Fellowship With God
3) Developing Godly Family Relationships
4) Preparation for Specific Life Calling and Purpose, and for Roles in Life
5) Character Development
6) Equip with Tools to Learn for Life
7) Basic Foundation of Knowledge to Function in Society
Barb shows us how lopsided today's educational system is because it leans heavily (pretty much completely) upon the last of these pillars (#7) to the exclusion of many of the others. Our goal or vision in homeschooling should be the perfect balance of these pillars as the Lord reveals them to you for your children/family. (And what constitutes a "perfect balance" for one family may look very different for another.)
Marilyn talks about six related terms that people tend to use interchangeably:  destiny, vision, calling, purpose, goals, and planning. She says: "Defining these easily interchangeable terms can help us get going  with the immediate present knowing that we are headed in a direction that will take us to the fulfillment of our dreams."

1. "What is the one thing you desire to see happen through you in the world? This may be your destiny.
2. Can you see any specific ways of making this happen? This may be part of your vision.
3. When you see yourself making this thing happen, what are you doing?  This may be your calling.
4. What immediate action should you take to get on with your destiny?  This may be your purpose.
5. As you define your purpose, what are the first steps you can take to achieve it? These are your goals."
Now you may be thinking, "Okay, so exactly how is all this going to help me in my homeschooling?"  Well, I believe these things should be the basis of setting up your "plans" for your "educational vision."  Let me show you what I tell newbies when I'm approached to help them get started in homeschooling.
Before you run out and buy all that beautiful, enticing, prepared curriculum you should do something like this:

1. You and your husband pray together for direction in your child(ren)'s education. Ask Him to reveal what He has in mind for them. (their destiny?)

2. You and your husband write down what things each of you feel are important for your children to know by the time they leave home. This should include school subjects as well as things like "how to change the oil in the car."  (Remember: you didn't know everything you know now by the time you graduated so don't expect too much from your kids.)

3. Next, talk with your children:  What things they are interested in? What do they like to do?  Where is their interest?  What delights them?  (Hint:  This is stuff they do without your pushing them.) 

4. Sit down with your lists and pray for guidance again.

5. Now take those things you each listed and put them onto one page in order of importance to each of you. 

6. Identify which of those things you can feasibly do in your homeschool. Which will need outside help?  How can you accomplish them? (If you're at the high school level and are doing "credits," then also ask:  How much time
(approximately) will each take? 1/2 credit, 1 credit?)

 7. (High School:)  Take that info and divide them into "courses" to distribute through the number of years that you plan for high school. (Younger Children:)  Just write down your basic ideas. ... For whatever age, all this will cover and include many things that do not typically look like "school.
Now you have a "vision" for each of your children's education. Continue praying and adjusting this "vision" as the Lord reveals ways to accomplish the goal. Be prepared and flexible as the Lord reveals His plan because He will most likely cause parts of "your" vision to change to more perfectly fit with His. 
I have found that even though, over time, He has changed much of my original "vision", just having it all laid out in black and white has helped calm and quiet my fears enough that I am able to "hear" Him better when He talks with me about our goals. He doesn't reveal the whole picture all at once, but when He does show me some part, I can go back to my "vision" and re-write it to His direction.
Let me sum this all up with a couple more quotes from Barb's "Form+U+La":
"We all have differing recipes for what we see as producing "success." If you read this book
in its entirety for the "meat" of it, not just the forms, you'll eventually see what my recipe is. However, I believe that success is from the hand of the Lord!  It comes only as we seek and get His heart and His goals for our own lives. We apply ourselves and we study to show ourselves approved of Him; He furnishes the direction and the grace to accomplish and personalize it for our family."
And about stress, Barb has this to say: "Actually, the main things that are stressful are beginning (and continuing!) to do the "school at home" approach, and being unwilling to let go of it! This is part of dying to Self... Once we catch God's vision for what we're supposed to be doing, that portion of the source of the stress can be gone in a flash!... Stress does not come from Him dealing with the junk in our lives...  rather, stress comes from our resisting what He is trying to do in our lives."



Donna is the "List Shepherdess"

for the "Senior High Form+U+la" List

(nicknamed "SHF-L" - Click here for more info on this.)

Without Donna and all her behind-the-scenes

work, this list would cease to exist.

I'm very serious.




(I got both the border and the heart

in my early (ignorant) days of web surfing,

and therefore do not know which site I got them

at,   {:-(   but I have paid all appropriate fees to all the artists!

So if you know the source, please let me know so

that I can give credit where it is due!)




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