{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed. 

So here’s where we inspire you with a simple picture and a few words. 

Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

Sometimes it’s the message we leave behind us, without words, that speaks of what’s in our hearts.  Let your message be intentional.

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intentional-learning-goals

Intentional Learning: Putting our Goals into Words

So last week I talked about why schooling our children with intention is so important.  This week I thought it might be helpful to be a bit more practical than theoretical. I would like to share with you what my goals look like. These are broad goals without specifics as to how to accomplish them (that post will come later!) so as to help me keep my mind focused on what I want for the child who comes out of my domestic school in 12 years (it’s so easy to get lost in the nitty gritty of “how” and lose our long distance sight!).

My goals are not listed here in any specific order.  #15 is just as important as #1.

Please remember that these are MY goals for MY children.  Yours will likely look very different.

I would so love to see what goals you have in mind so please come back and share with me in the comments!

  1.  Each child will learn to read – to be able to find beauty, truth and goodness through the Bible, great literature and a vast array of non-fiction.
  2. Each child will be exposed DAILY to our faith and its riches so that when he grows up and wanders from his bearings he will have a solid foundation to hold himself steady.
  3. Each child will learn a foreign language and study other cultures so as to broaden his opportunities and to instill in him respect for peoples unlike himself.
  4. Each child will have a thorough understanding of world history and geography to help him grasp his tiny footprint in this great big world.
  5. Each child will be introduced to science concepts fitted to his level in order to see the majesty of God’s creations.
  6. Each child will form a personal relationship with nature by studying nature and its marvels in depth.
  7. Each child will be introduced to the beauty of this world through a gentle introduction to great works of art, music, and literature.
  8. Each child will practice math daily to help him develop a foundation of mathematical and reasoning skills to function in a fiscally mature manner and to carry out mathematical functions in everyday situations (cooking, measuring, estimating, etc)
  9. Each child will be immersed in literature and experiences that pushes him to grow in virtue and character and empathy.
  10. Each child will be supported and given proper guidance in life skills that are needed for daily success, survival and cultural enjoyment.
  11. Each child will be nurtured and treated as the individual he was created to be.  He will be supported in the development of talents, interests and goals.
  12. Each child should have a quiet time carved into his day in order to infuse his mind with great ideas through quality literature or imaginative play, depending on his age and capabilities.
  13. Each child should be well versed in American and Texan history so as to appreciate the freedoms he is afforded.
  14. Each child should be well acquainted with his local, geographic surroundings, understanding both direction and the general layout as well as a familiarity of plants and animals.
  15. Each child will be allowed to practice, without judgment, the innocence, wonder and exploration that naturally occurs in a child’s spirit.
  16. Each child will be disciplined in habits of attention, obedience, respect, self-control, integrity, truthfulness, and compassion so as to prepare him to be a useful contributing member of society.
  17. Each child will learn forms of self-expression including but not limited to drawing, writing, and reciting.
  18. Each child will learn to sing and play a musical instrument to fill their world with beautiful sound.
  19. Each child will take care of the body entrusted to him by learning  about and taking care of his body through proper nutrition, physical education and restful leisure.
  20. Each child will be immersed in positive thinking, joyful praise and honest gratitude to help cultivate the same thought patterns in his mind.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8

Intentional Learning: Setting Goals for our Homeschool Year

Spring is here and, for those of us that homeschool, spring includes the madness and chaos of planning for next year.  Catalogs fill the mailbox, conferences inspire our hearts, evaluations of a year passed guide us toward our goals for the following year.

It’s easy to get lost in the whirlwind of choices.

It’s easy to forget why we chose this path.

It’s easy to just tag along with the cultural flow and do what everyone else is doing because we just can’t imagine our kid not keeping up with other kids his age.

It’s easy to approach our educational philosophy a bit unintentionally.

But being intentional is so important when our children’s hearts are at stake.  Because it’s not just about reading, writing and ‘rithmetic.  It’s about character and morals and citizenship.  It’s about growing this unique little being into the person he was created to be.

The educator and philosopher Charlotte Mason tells us that Our aim in Education is to give a Full Life.––We begin to see what we want. Children make large demands upon us. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. ‘Thou hast set my feet in a large room,’ should be the glad cry of every intelligent soul. Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking––the strain would be too great––but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest. We cannot give the children these interests; we prefer that they should never say they have learned botany or conchology, geology or astronomy. The question is not––how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education––but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” (Vol. 3, pp. 170, 171) (emphasis mine).

So not only are we expected to educate our child in the traditional sense of the word, but we’re expected to plant a seed in him that sprouts a love for learning, a thirst for knowledge. We’re expected to lead him toward a full life.  A life that is good and worthy and whole.

That’s a heavy responsibility.  One that can’t be approached casually.

If we simply look to the public school system as our guide, we are missing the entire spiritual realm of education.  Our children become well versed in grammar rules, mathematical concepts and reading skills, perhaps, but we completely leave their soul out of the equation.  We cheat them out of an education that forms their character, guides their morals and establishes the principles that will lead them in all the days ahead.  As we are mind, body and soul, we cannot overlook the formation of their very beings.  Charlotte Mason advised us to: “Look on education as something between the child’s soul and God. Modern Education tends to look on it as something between the child’s brain and the standardized test.”

So how do we intentionally approach our homeschool plan?  Surely, we muse, there is a curriculum that comes wrapped in a box with a pretty bow that covers everything we need.

If only it were that simple.

Unfortunately, it takes deep thought and reflection to guide us in our decisions.  It requires a map of sorts to guide us in our curriculum and book choices.  It requires intentional thought about where we want our children to be after 12 years of home education.

We must begin with a broad plan.  An intentional philosophy, so to speak.

Grab a pen, some beautifully lined paper and a cup of tea.

Now imagine your child as an adult.  What do you want for him?  I’m guessing you don’t want him depressed, on drugs, collecting welfare, barely paying the rent of a run-down shack, yelling at his girlfriend to tend to the baby.

Surely you want him to be well adjusted, morally sound, guided by his principles and ethics.

You want him to find pleasure in the simple things of life, right?  The feel of a spring day on his cheeks, the anticipation of reading the next chapter in a well-loved book, the delight of a walk through the neighborhood.

You want him to love his life, just as it is at that moment in time whether it’s surrounded by books in a library as he studies for his finals or backpacking through Europe exploring all the places he read and dreamed about in his childhood.  Or maybe he’s already settled in a job having made the choice not to go to college and he’s passionate about what he does and determined to make a go of it.  Or perhaps he has settled down with his sweetheart and they’re navigating the waters of married life but he’s not discouraged because he knows that this is just part of the journey and he’s full of hope and determination.

You want him to have hobbies that enrich his life, hobbies that help him find beauty, truth and goodness in the crazy, chaotic world, I’m sure.

You want him to feel the power of education at his fingertips, knowing that knowledge is just a book away.

Maybe you want him to have a solid personal relationship with his Creator or at least a solid foundation just in case he wanders a bit.

I’m quite sure you want him to grasp the basics of math and budgeting and fiscal responsibility, lest he find himself knee deep in debt without hope of loosening the master’s hold.

You probably want him to be well versed in American history and liberties so that if his freedom is ever at stake, he knows exactly what that means and just how far he is willing to go to retain those liberties.

I know you well enough to know that you have other dreams for him.  Mine might be quite different from yours so I hesitate to share anymore wanderings here with you lest my guide become more of a checklist.  I promise to share my own goals for our homeschool with you soon, but I want to allow you some time to ruminate over the thoughts I have shared here.

So take some time this week.  Put down the catalogs and stop browsing the web.  Mull over the big ideas.  The broad plan.  You can’t choose a curriculum until you’ve given the long term goals some serious, intentional thought.  Put your thoughts down on paper.  Feel free to come back and share some of your thoughts here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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