I recently asked on couple of homeschooling Facebook groups about vision/mission statements and did not get a huge response. I am sure it is not because families don’t have a vision for their homeschooling but instead that they don’t have a written statement. If I asked any homeschooling family these questions: Why do you homeschool? Why is it important to your family? What do you want homeschooling to accomplish for your children? they could tell me. That is their vision.
For our family it is important to a have a written statement that will hold a prominent place in our home.
I like this explanation of the purpose of a vision statement from Psychology Today:
A Vision Statement:
Defines the optimal desired future state – the mental picture – of what an organization wants to achieve over time;
Provides guidance and inspiration as to what an organization is focused on achieving in five, ten, or more years;
Functions as the “north star” – it is what all employees understand their work every day ultimately contributes towards accomplishing over the long term; and,
Is written succinctly in an inspirational manner that makes it easy for all employees to repeat it at any given time.
Switch out organization with family and employee with family member and you have 4 great reasons to write a homeschool vision statement (or a family vision statement if you are not a homeschooling family).
Defines the optimal desired future state – the mental picture – of what a family wants to achieve over time: The ultimate goal of parenting is to “[t]rain up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Though it is very easy to get caught up in the minute by minute “crisis management” that parenting, especially with young children, can feel like, our eyes need to be focused on developing our children into adults who have the tools to achieve their fullest potential. Those tools are not only academic; they are also social, spiritual and mental. How many times have you heard of someone with a community college degree or no college degree managing an employee who graduated from an Ivy League or prestigious university? Why does this happen? Because success depends on multiple factors including social abilities, problem solving skills and confidence in a variety of situations and with a variety of people. A vision statement should look beyond academics to the tools our children need to be successful adults.
Provides guidance and inspiration as to what a family is focused on achieving in five, ten, or more years: This will be my first year homeschooling and as my youngest are two, I am looking forward to 16 more years of homeschooling. In the homeschooling world where families often homeschool all of their children from preschool to college and large families are not unusual, 16 years is a short time. For some families, homeschooling may be short term (1 year, preschool and kindergarten only, elementary school only) but that does not negate the importance of having a vision for family life. In developing a vision statement, we need to be looking for long term goals and asking ourselves: what do we want for our children as they enter the world after their education? Where will our focus be in the coming years? How will we achieve our goals? What will inspire and guide us? This is different than short term yearly goals (which may include things like, read a book, learn multiplication, or write an essay). Hopefully this vision statement will be as applicable, true, and inspiring in 5, 10 and 16 years as it is now.
Functions as the “north star” – it is what all family members understand their work every day ultimately contributes towards accomplishing over the long term: For now, the family members doing the majority of the work are Cliff and I but over time that will change. Our children will be held responsible for chores, completing school work independently and impacting our home environment among other things. Holding Scripture as our foundation and glorifying God in all we do will make straight our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). It will direct our interactions and the choices we make. We already talked about long term goals, now we must ask how will our daily work (housework, school work, church work, etc) contribute to those goals? A vision statement must set the standards by which we treat each other and accomplish our daily work.
Is written succinctly in an inspirational manner that makes it easy for all family members to repeat it at any given time: A vision statement should be short, a sentence or two at the most, which inspires your family to do better and be better while keeping the long term goals as the focal point. I plan to hang ours in a prominent place in our home where we can be reminded of and inspired by what we are trying to accomplish with a quick glance.
Do you have a vision statement for your homeschool or family? I would love to hear it.
If not, do you think the development of a vision statement would clarify your long term goals and provide inspiration for your daily work? Let me know what you think below.