Lots of families today are choosing to teach their kids at home. Many parents think they need to replicate school at home.
But to make your homeschooling experience work, especially for children with special needs, you must create a unique, tailored learning experience.
The first step in that journey is crafting your family’s homeschool mission statement that resonates with your family’s values, goals, and, most importantly, your child’s needs.
What is a Homeschool Mission Statement?
A mission statement is not a set of educational goals or a list of skills to master. It is why you began your homeschool journey and the ultimate goal you want to accomplish with your family.
Think of it as a compass; it points you in the direction you want your child’s education to go. Whether setting daily tasks or long-term goals, your own homeschool mission statement is your anchor, ensuring you stay on the course each homeschool year.
Also called a homeschool vision statement, it is the end goal you are trying to work towards.
The mission statement should incorporate your family’s values, educational philosophies, goals, and vision for their homeschooling journey.
Having a family mission statement does not replace having goals. A mission statement is a comprehensive and universal statement that supersedes your goals.
Why is a Mission Statement Significant for Special Needs Children?
For children with special needs, education isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. They often require tailored strategies, personalized attention, and adaptive resources.
Benefits of Documenting Your Homeschool Mission:
- Clarity: Having your homeschooling mission statement written down makes it clear and easier to follow.
- Commitment: Seeing your mission in words strengthens your dedication to it.
- Guidance: On days when you’re unsure, your written mission can help guide you back to your purpose.
A mission statement reminds you as homeschool parents of what you want your child to achieve, ensuring that their unique needs are always at the forefront of educational decisions.
Moreover, it provides clarity in challenging times. On days when progress seems slow or obstacles seem insurmountable, revisiting the mission statement can reignite the purpose and motivation to persevere.
After all, each child, especially those with learning disabilities, deserves an education that resonates with their strengths, challenges, and dreams.
Understanding Your ‘Why’
When thinking about home education, it’s super important to understand your main reason for doing it. It’s like asking yourself, “Why do I want to teach my child at home instead of sending them to a regular school?”
Knowing your ‘why’ can help you stay focused and motivated.
Let me share a story with you.
I once met a mom named Grace. When I asked her why she chose to homeschool her daughter, Mia, she told me about a day when Mia came home from school feeling upset.
Mia had trouble keeping up in class because of her learning disability and sometimes felt left out. Grace realized that she wanted to make learning fun for Mia and give her all the attention she needed.
For Grace, her ‘why’ ensured Mia loved learning and felt good about herself. Whenever things got challenging or confusing in their homeschooling journey, Grace would remember that day and her reason for starting. And it gave her the strength to keep going.
Your ‘why’ is like your homeschooling superpower. Remembering your reason when you’re unsure or need a little boost can help guide you and keep you strong, especially on hard days.
Establishing Core Values Before Writing Your Homeschooling Mission Statement
Imagine you’re building a treehouse. Before you start nailing boards together, you’d want to know what you need in your treehouse, right?
Maybe a ladder, a window to see the birds or even a comfy corner to read books.
In the same way, when building your homeschool family’s mission statement, it’s essential to figure out what’s most important to you and your child. These most important things are what we call “core values.”
Core Value Examples
Here are some core values you might think about:
– Personalized Learning:
This means creating lessons that fit just right for your child. Everyone learns in different ways and at their own pace. A personalized learning plan ensures your child gets what’s best for them.
– Safe Environment:
Making sure your child feels safe and comfy. A safe environment isn’t just about physical safety. It is also about making sure they feel happy and confident while learning.
– Life-skills Oriented:
Not just book learning! This is about teaching kids real-world skills, like cooking or managing money.
– Therapy Integration:
If your child needs extra help, like speech therapy or physical therapy, this means mixing it into your daily routines.
– One-on-One Attention:
This is all about giving your child individual time, where they get all the focus. It can help them understand things better and faster.
Like having a dedicated guide for your child, ensuring they get the specific help they need when needed. This is what a special education tutor can do for your family!
Choosing the right core values is like picking the best tools and materials for your treehouse. This will help ensure your homeschool life is full of strong connections, fun experiences, and just right for your child!
Considering Your Child’s Unique Needs
Understanding your child’s unique needs is like having the blueprint of a treasure map. When creating your homeschool mission statement, this blueprint becomes the backbone of that treasure map.
Different types of needs:
#1 Academic Needs:
This is about what your child needs to learn. Some kids might love reading but need help with math. Others might be great at science but need extra help in history.
#2 Emotional Needs:
Kids have feelings too! Some might need extra encouragement and praise, while others need quiet moments to process information.
#3 Physical Needs:
Physical needs aren’t just about exercise. Your child learns best when they move around or may need special equipment or tools to help them learn.
#4 Social Needs:
Friendships and interactions are super meaningful. Even at home, kids need chances to chat, play, and learn with others, whether it’s through group activities, play dates, or online interactions.
#5 Therapeutic Needs:
If your child needs extra sessions, like speech or physical therapy or counseling, making these a regular part of their homeschool routine is crucial.
Tying It All Into Your Homeschooling Mission Statement
Your mission statement is more than words; it’s a promise and commitment. It says, “This is what we believe in, and this is how we’re going to make the homeschool experience the best for our child.”
When you understand and consider your child’s academic, emotional, physical, social, and therapeutic needs, your mission statement becomes more tailored, focused, and effective.
For example, if you know your child thrives on social interactions, your mission statement might emphasize creating frequent opportunities for group activities or playdates.
If your child has specific therapeutic needs, your statement might highlight the importance of integrating those therapies seamlessly into their daily routine.
In short, the more you understand your child’s unique needs, the clearer and more specific your family’s mission statement will be. It’s like drawing a personalized treasure map that leads directly to your child’s success and happiness.
Writing the Mission Statement
Do you remember when you had a brilliant idea, but after a while, you forgot the details? It’s the same with our mission statement.
We might have the best intentions, but we must write it down to avoid forgetting. That’s why documenting your mission statement is like sealing those ideas in a special jar so they stay fresh and clear.
Answer and use these important questions to help you write your vision statement.
- Why did you decide to homeschool, and what was the purpose?
- What would your family look like in 5 or 10 years?
- What type of curriculum would you like to use, and why you chose it?
- How do you envision your children when they are adults?
- How do you want your children to see homeschooling?
- What inspired you to be a homeschool mom (or dad)? Is there a story that comes to mind?
- How will your family’s core values (discussed above) influence your homeschooling vision?
- How do you measure your homeschool success?
- What value does homeschooling your children offer?
- How will you address the negative comments from others?
- What unique needs do you need to meet?
- What responsibilities will everyone have?
Additional Tips on Crafting the Perfect Mission Statement
Keep it short and sweet. Your mission statement should be like a snapshot of your homeschooling goals, easy to read and remember.
Your homeschooling journey involves the entire family. So, get everyone in on it! Have a family meeting, share ideas, and together, craft a statement that resonates with everyone. Try this after having a family dinner together.
– Take your time:
Don’t rush through your mission and vision statements.
– Make it pretty:
If you are creative, you could create this online with Canva and print it in color. Add pictures or quotes that mean something to your family.
Personalize it to be inspirational and beautiful. If that is not something you want to do, write it on paper and keep it in your binder or make copies and hand them out to the children.
Place it where you can see it! Great places are on your fridge, by your child’s study table, or as a bookmark in your planner.
Seeing it regularly reminds you and your child of your family’s goals.
– Use it:
Make sure you put your mission statement to use when it comes to making decisions.
Over the school year, you will need to choose between one activity over another, and a great way to make the decision is by looking at your mission statement.
– Revisit and Update:
Set aside time, once a year or every six months, to review your homeschool mission statement. Ask yourself: “Is this still what we need? Are there any tweaks or changes to make?”
Remember, your mission statement is the heart of your homeschooling plan. Like a guiding star, it shines the best way, reminding you of the beautiful journey you’ve set out on with your child.
Always remember the power of having your vision and mission statement prepared before you start your homeschooling journey.
Let’s quickly revisit the steps:
- Understand Your ‘Why’: What’s the big reason you’re embarking on this homeschooling adventure?
- Establish Core Values: These are the guiding stars for your homeschool voyage.
- Consider Your Child’s Unique Needs: Remember the unique puzzle pieces? This ensures your homeschooling fits just right for your child.
- Craft the Mission Statement: Write it down, put it in a visible place, and involve the whole crew (your whole family)!
Reflecting on my own homeschooling journey, I’ve learned that every twist and turn, every high wave and calm sea, added value to our family’s experience.
And it all started with a clear mission.
So, why wait? Start drafting your very own mission statement today. Let it be the compass that guides you through the vast oceans of homeschooling.
And hey, we’re all in this grand adventure together. I’d love to hear about your experiences, your challenges, and of course, your mission statements!
Share them below! Or in our Parents of Special Needs Facebook group.
Additional Homeschool Resources
- Special Needs Homeschooling
- Traditional School Vs Homeschooling
- 3 Reasons Homeschoolers Seek Special Education Tutoring
- How to Homeschool Multiple Children Effectively