I thought I’d have daughters. Maybe it’s natural for people to expect their spawn to be like them in every way, including gender. I did understand that sons were within the realm of possibility. I’m smart like that. But thoughts of frilly dresses and bows in long hair distracted me. So the possibility that I’d become the mother of THREE boys – three smart, adorable, funny, ACTIVE boys – never entered my mind.
So much about boys was alien to me. The energy, the clothing, the energy, the fearlessness, the energy…I think you see where I’m going here. And I was shocked by the incredible responsibility I felt when I found out the gender of my firstborn. Because baby boys grow to be big boys, and big boys grow to be men. Once they become men, I also hope that they become husbands and fathers (in that order, please God), while contributing to society in a meaningful and satisfying way.
And here’s where I panicked.
Because, as an engineer, I’d worked mostly with men. All kinds of men. Men of high character, low character, and questionable character. Which would my boy grow up to be????
So in the course of 12 hours, I’d made the mental leap from “It’s a boy!” to wondering what type of man my little peanut would become. It’s fun living inside my head.
Thankfully, throwing up every couple of hours has a way of banishing deep thoughts. I birthed the first of three boys that I considered to be perfect in every way. I’m almost seven years into mommyhood and can still sit and stare at each of my boys as if he’s a work of art. And he is.
But the reality of the extent of each child’s perfection eventually made an appearance. Right around the time the Terrible Two’s made an appearance, as a matter of fact. Before I knew it, my oldest was getting ready to go to kindergarten. He’d spent two years in preschool, so it should be smooth sailing, right? RIGHT?
It was a difficult year. You can read about it here, but, long story short, we were stressed and disappointed by the family dynamic resulting from sending our son to school. I saw the beginnings of negative character traits forming in my perfect little peanut, and knew that we had to make a big change before things got out of hand.
And just like that, I was that pregnant first-time mom wondering what kind of man my son would become.
Only this time, I wasn’t hampered by pregnancy hormones and fear of the unknown. I had a nursing baby and was sleep-deprived, so still emotional, but I had enough sense to shift into problem-solving mode.
For me, that meant reverse-engineering my idea of the type of men I hoped my boys would become.
Our Longterm Homeschooling Goals
- Faith – I pray that my sons will grow to know, love, and serve God.
- Passion – I hope that we identify a field of interest for each of my boys that ignites a spark of passion that motivates them to work hard and learn new things.
- Habits – I am determined that my boys learn good work and learning habits, including diligence and maintaining an organized workspace.
- Relationships – People smarts are necessary for healthy relationships, be they personal or work-related. I pray that my boys grow in wisdom so that they become men that navigate both business and personal relationships with wisdom and confidence.
These general homeschool goals will become more specific and tailored to each child as they grow and start seeking God about His purpose for them. But in the short-term, they’ve been helpful to me as I’ve researched curriculum, considered activities, and even bought furniture for our homeschool room.
It might seem odd that our long-term homeschooling goals don’t have a lot to do with school or education. But I’ve learned that learning something new isn’t really all that difficult as long as you’re motivated and eager to achieve your goals, and have the good work habits and diligence to back up that motivation and eagerness. Add people smarts to the mix, and you have all the tools you need to learn whatever you want to learn.
What about more traditional educational goals? I purposely did not include a couple of traditional goals to our list of long-term goals, so I thought it would be helpful to share my reasoning behind those decisions.
Our longterm homeschooling goals do NOT include…
- …a love of learning. Here’s the thing: we’re not raising our boys to become professional students. When they grow up, they each need to get a J-O-B. Or start a business. Or both – whatever it takes for them to support themselves and a family. My hope is that their life’s work lines up with their God-given purpose, a purpose that will give them great joy and satisfaction. I believe that a passion to fulfill their purpose, combined with good work habits, will motivate them to be ready and willing to learn whatever they need to learn to fulfill their responsibilities, and to seek that knowledge with diligence and tenacity. But that makes learning a means to an end, not the final destination.
- ...a love for reading. This is a hard one for me, because I LOVE to read. The written word is so powerful to me that, as a kid, I would even read toothpaste boxes and shampoo bottles. For fun. (My poor parents. I was such a weird kid.) But not everyone is wired that way. For example, my husband is an auditory learner and gets so much more out of a speech or talk than a book. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But he’s not opposed to going to a book for information, and that’s what I expect from my boys, as well. I hope that my boys do eventually grow to share my love of books, but I don’t consider it necessary for homeschool success.
I love to read and learn new things, but I struggle with paralysis of analysis. Consequently, I feel a burden to emphasize action in service to our loving God, and not put the collection of knowledge on a pedestal. I keep thinking of 1 Corinthians 8:1 – “But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” Oh, may my boys never be puffed up with their knowledge.
Have I missed anything? How did you develop your homeschooling goals?
Linking up with Hip Homeschool Moms.