Last night I had the pleasure of meeting 20-year homeschooling veteran Lori Lane, founder of Artios Academies and The End in Mind, a Christian homeschooling encouragement blog. As the guest speaker for my local homeschool support group, Lori shared her personal homeschooling journey and its connection to the foundation of Artios Academies and its integrated homeschooling approach.
Although I’m sure several of the moms (myself included) might have come to learn more about the Artios homeschooling method, what we received was much more vital: Inspiration and encouragement to view our journeys as a “whole-hearted homeschooling” opportunity.
What is whole-hearted homeschooling? “The big goal is to reach their hearts,” explained Lori. “It’s not what you do, but why you do it.”
In other words, finding the “perfect” method, curriculum, scope and sequence, or schedule should not drive your homeschooling. Instead, your “why” must be your focus: Your why is the agreement between you and God about how to reach the hearts of your children. When you keep your why in focus, you’ll be less tempted to fall into homeschooling traps such as comparison, jumping around from curriculum to curriculum, or trying every latest homeschooling fad.
“God is an out-of-the-box Creator: Give yourself permission to homeschool outside the box,” Lori encouraged. “I give you permission to tear the box open and let yourself out.”
When Lori began homeschooling in 1983, she was personally influenced and inspired by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s “For the Children’s Sake” and later by Ruth Beechick in the development of her family’s interconnected homeschooling approach, which uses history as a “spine” for teaching all subjects in an associative, integrative manner — with a Biblical foundation. By teaching in an interconnected way, your workload is easier: Your children can learn at the same time but approach the topic on their level and with their strengths encouraged. Personally, I settled on an integrated approach for exactly this reason (now using Trail Guide to Learning) after my first two years of homeschooling with other subject-driven curriculum packages.
“The more a child learns how life is interconnected, the more they retain,” she explained.
However, regardless of approach, Lori stressed that the key to homeschooling successfully for the long haul is beginning with the end in mind: “What do you want for your children at the end of this journey? You’ll get that from studying scripture and your children.”
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
— 2 Timothy 3:16-17
With that in mind, whole-hearted homeschooling means taking into account that your children are unique individuals, and you’re not likely to find a boxed curriculum program that works for all of your children for all areas of study. However, as homeschooling moms, we need to be careful not to let their differences discourage us.
“They’re different because God created them for very different purposes: there’s no one-size-fits-all!” Lori explained. “What homeschool kids need is a mama who is steady, who knows what they’re doing and why. You might make mistakes along the way, but you’ll know to get back on track.”
“The goal doesn’t change, but the plans can. Goals in concrete, plans in sand.”
— Lori Lane, Artios Academies
This message was exactly what I needed to hear as we prepare to wrap up this semester over the next six weeks before our family roadtrip to Washington D.C. for the Teach Them Diligently Convention in May. And based on the questions and comments from our group members, I get the feeling that God knew what type of encouragement we all needed.
Lori’s talk was truly a blessing, providing some relief for those feeling some burnout and giving us all the boost of energy we need to reclaim joy and freedom in our homeschooling. I’m so grateful to have met and learned from Lori Lane, and I look forward to following her on The End in Mind going forward!
Are you experiencing feelings of homeschool burnout right now? Or confusion about what road to take with curriculum, co-ops and other available homeschool supplemental opportunities? Have you asked God to solidify your focus and mission for your homeschool? What questions do you have about whole-hearted homeschooling?
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