What is your reason for homeschooling?
I’m not asking why you started homeschooling in the first place. I’m asking why you chose to do it again this year. What will determine whether or not you do it again next year?
Perhaps your reason for homeschooling is the same as it was when you got started, and perhaps it has changed. There is nothing wrong with either one. But there is something wrong with not knowing. Maintaining the status quo is only diligent if the status quo is worth maintaining.
Reason for Homeschooling: Evaluating the Status Quo
I can’t help but think of a climactic scene in the movie National Treasure. The heroes are at the mercy of the bad guys, and their ability to get out of a tight spot is growing increasingly unlikely. Father and son duo Patrick and Ben Gates find a moment to pull aside in quiet conversation.
Patrick: “Cooperation only lasts as long as the status quo is unchanged. As soon as this guy gets to wherever this thing ends… he won’t need you anymore, or… or any of us.”
Ben: “So we find a way to make sure the status quo changes in our favor.”
Ben: “I’m still working on it.”
Patrick: “Well, I guess I better work on it too, then.”
Okay, so homeschooling is not a life-and-death situation, but there still just might be something we can learn here. When we first started homeschooling, there was a distinct status quo to be established. There were specific reasons and circumstances that led us to the decision. And, as long as those reasons and circumstances remained unchanged, the flow of homeschooling could also continue unchanged.
If your life is anything like mine, though, circumstances change. And if we don’t actively work to make sure it changes in our favor, we might find that diligence in homeschooling becomes harder and harder to maintain the farther we get from the original status quo.
Now, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that our original reason for homeschooling was bad. But if our current life situation doesn’t match the original status quo, maybe it’s time to rethink that reason for homeschooling.
Due Diligence in Evaluating Our Reason for Homeschooling
Many of us don’t consciously think about it on a daily basis, but homeschooling is an action of hope. It is a stand we take, trusting that we are making the best educational choice for our children. We act in the hope that our investment will produce more than just smart adults. Our hope is that they will be functional, relational, thoughtful, capable adults.
Fortunately, true hope is not just wishful thinking. Instead, it is a confidence in the searching we’ve done to find the best option for our families. Depending on our backgrounds, this searching may have been in-depth research, interactions with friends, wisdom from mentors, prayer, or any combination of the above.
But, because our hope is based on confidence rather than wishful thing, that also means that our hope is dependent upon our diligence to actually make the investment. It takes work. It requires action. And it requires a continual re-evaluation of our reasons, our methods, and our purpose. Only in that re-evaluation can we truly approach homeschooling with due diligence rather than in an attitude that simply maintains the status quo—even long after our reason for homeschooling has changed.
Not Just Change for the Sake of Change
Equally important, however, is remembering that we don’t just change our approach, method, or reason for homeschooling simply for the sake of change. We don’t hop from curriculum to curriculum just because we’re bored or ditch a good schedule just for the sake of shaking things up. Changing for the sake of change never succeeds in keeping the status quo in our favor. Instead, it just creates change. And that is the opposite of diligence.
In true diligence, regular evaluation does not automatically result in change. Sometimes it leaves things just the way they are because we recognize that the way things are is good and right. But, because we have stopped to revisit why we are homeschooling and why we are homeschooling a certain way, we realize that we’re not just stuck in a rut. We’re not just doing it this way because that’s the way we’ve always done it. Instead, we come face to face with a tangible reminder of the whys. And that tangible reminder restores our hope.
So, I ask again: what is your reason for homeschooling?
Why do you do it the way you do it? Is the status quo still in your favor? If so, continue in hope, my friend! But if not, remember that due diligence demands action. So take action. Re-evaluate. And find a way to change the status quo to match where you should be.