My husband is into archery. He has researched various bows and different kinds of arrows, and he is using vocabulary that is completely foreign to me: words like “fletching” and “nock.”
But what really gets him excited is showing me pictures he’s taken of the target after his shots. He has created his own target out of a cardboard box, some rags, and an old piece of carpet. Then he secures a paper bullseye onto the box so he can track his accuracy. Somehow it wouldn’t be the same to stand out in the woods and shoot arrows at random. Those targets are what focus his attention and keep him challenged.
It’s the same with homeschooling. Setting up a target—defining your goals—are what keep you focused and let you know if you’re wandering off track.
So before you start leafing through shiny curriculum catalogs, take some time to set up your target. What are you aiming at? In other words, fast forward in your mind 12 years or so down the road. Picture your child ready to graduate from your home school. What is it you want to see standing there before you? That’s your target.
As you define your target, don’t limit it to just academics. True education shapes all aspects of life and affects the whole person.
Here are some ideas of goals from Scripture. You will find many workshops at the Teach Them Diligently Conventions along these lines that will continue to help you set your targets in these areas.
I want my child to
- be able to communicate the gospel clearly and accurately.
- be accurate and honest in financial matters.
- filter past and present men’s ideas through the Word and reject/correct error.
- recognize the glory of God in His creation.
- worship and love God wholeheartedly.
- obey authorities. (Just as a side note, we will model this goal as we are careful to meet any legal homeschooling requirements. Be sure to research those requirements in your region and strive to be above reproach.)
- be prepared to provide for a household, if a young man.
- be prepared to manage a household, if a young women.
- be prepared to succeed in college classes if they are needed to fulfill God’s calling for that child.
- hold forth the Word of truth and be a light in this dark world.
Setting up your target is an important next step in getting started homeschooling, for your goals will affect which curriculum and materials you use. Once you know what you’re aiming at, you will be able to look for resources that will help you reach that goal. And the Teach Them Diligently Convention exhibit hall will be a fantastic time-saver in that regard.
The reality is that we parents are all archers. Psalm 127 paints a poignant word-picture comparing our children to arrows. We want to send them forth from our families to honor the Lord Jesus and minister in the world around them. Let’s set up our targets well.