How to Identify Your Educational Philosophy and Why You Need One
Through my experiences as both a homeschool parent and an online school Learning Coach, I have realized the importance of identifying your educational philosophy. While it may sound lofty, “educational philosophy” is really just a fancy name for your unique beliefs about the value, purpose, and goals of learning. Clearly defining your family’s values can:
- Help you make solid general decisions for your child’s education
- Simplify choosing an appropriate K–12 online school
- Clarify what you expect from your student
- Help guide your child’s teachers in determining what resources will work best for your student’s success
Here are some tips to get you started on defining your educational philosophy and goals:
- Fill in the Blanks: Try completing the following sentence: My child’s education should _________. You may find that you have many different types of answers. Although every family will have its own unique views, the following answers may jump-start your thinking. Many people believe that education should:
- Open doors for a child now and in the future
- Develop a child’s personality and character
- Be responsive to a child’s questions, interests, and individual needs
- Spark curiosity rather than be a source of anxiety
- Be developmentally appropriate
- Prepare a child for the 21st-century workforce
- Brainstorm the Past: Try reflecting on your own education. Were there good experiences you’d like to duplicate for your child? Were there unpleasant experiences you hope your child can avoid?
- Picture the Future: We often speak about children and young people in our society as “the future.” Depending on your viewpoint, this could mean preservation—or change. What do you think? Do you believe education should equip students to preserve and live in the world as it is? Or do you favor giving children the skills and knowledge they’ll need to change the world and construct new possibilities?
- Envision the Adult: Another approach involves looking forward. Can you picture the adult you want your child to become? What do you see as being a desirable end or outcome of your child’s education?
- Boil It Down: To make your philosophy easy to remember, try to prioritize your answers and pare your ideas down to the most important three to five points. Now, why not turn your philosophy into a decorative poster for your at-home classroom space—make it a project for the whole family!
What are the most important aspects of your educational beliefs? If you’ve already established your family’s philosophy, please share your insights in the comments below.