Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sunday Scribblings #117: Vision

My family does not have a vision statement. It is something of which I am occasionally made aware, with a twinge of guilt, at this time of year.

Let me explain. We're a homeschooling family, and thousands of new families decide to homeschool each year. In June and July, homeschooling organizations throughout the U.S. hold conventions. And at these conventions, new homeschoolers often attend workshops called something like, "Getting Started in Homeschooling."

Makes sense, right? So at these "Getting Started" type workshops, parents are often encouraged to write a family vision statement.

There are loads of "Getting Started" advice on websites, too. Like this from
Trinity Prep School:
Developing a family vision statement .... or in my case, a paragraph, requires one to reflect on core family values. What is your vision for your family? Think long term .... what legacy do you want your children to pass onto THEIR children? Choosing action verbs in stating core values, creates an overall implementation plan.
And this one from Victory Coaching:
A well written family vision statement will answer life’s great questions: Why am I here (purpose)? Where am I going (vision)? How will I get there (mission)? What's important and right (values)? It is like a compass that guides your course. When referred to regularly, it helps to shape the goals you set and the decisions you make that will lead to your desired destination.
And so here's why we don't have a family vision statement: I think they are silly. For us. We are not the kind of family to create "an overall implementation plan." Oh, I could think of lots of "action verbs" that state our core values: Laugh. Love. Serve. Learn. Enjoy. Climb. Read. Smile. Encourage. Embrace. Believe. Imagine. Create.

But a written vision statement? It's just not for us.
It's not that we take one day at a time necessarily. We have basic goals. We make schedules. We have dreams and hopes for our children. But somehow the formality of a written vision statement seems too cumbersome and business-like.

Still, every year about this time I wonder: should we write a family vision statement? Nah. I'll stick with my list of action verbs.

(Need a weekly writing prompt? Check out Sunday Scribbling here!)


Michelle said...

So you don't have a formal written vision statement, big deal! :) You still have goals and convictions for homeschooling your children. I bet you have more of a vision than you give yourself credit for. And as a parent myself, I'm very impressed and applaud parents like you who devote so much time their children's education.
And I'm sure your children will develop 'visions' for their lives whether they call them that or not!

Granny Smith said...

I would be very suspicious of a written Family Vision. For one thing, who writes it? Do the children have a say in what is envisioned for them? Even if they do, what of the sudden and unexpected changes in their own visions of their futures?

I have two children who were very successfully home schooled. One of them was single-minded. She is well on her way toward the career that she wished for. The other had a whole succession of intense interests which his parents encouraged him to study intensively (to a degree that made him an expert)before moving on to the next subject that caught his imagination. Never did they insist upon their vision or their family vision. He just graduated from college and is going to a job in Vietnam to pursue his own vision of teaching and of helping to heal the wounds of a war that was over before he was born.

Your action words are ones that I'm sure his parents could have written down but which they taught by example. They would have added one more. Make music!

Lilibeth said...

Sometimes the written plan is a substitute for day by day planning. Maybe some people need it. I know my end and aim: the lesson plans fall into place... but maybe it would help my children to see where I am going. I tend to assume they know things that I know. Ah well. Those days are over for me now, but I, having been homeschooled for a few years myself, think you are doing a great thing.

wisteria said...

What fun would it be to answer life's great questions? Who says you can anyway? The questions that Victory Coaching say should be answered are really Essential Questions and Guiding Questions. The Essential Questions should make you think, but not necessarily require an answer. The answer is different for everyone. For example: What is happiness? How can you include that in a mission statement?

I say...if you are homeschooling, you are probably trying to avoid some of the pitfalls of public education. One of which is the pressure schools have had to create a mission statement to post in every classroom. Unless it is a one sentence statement, I doubt anyone in any school can tell you theirs. free...forget the mission statement...forget NCLB and hopefully you and your children will enjoy learning together. :-)
Just my 2cents.


danni said...

i think of vision statements as goals in disguise, and a well written goal needs to be measurable and achievable, blah-blah-blah!!! --- as i've grown older i see the folly in elaborate and cumbersome long term goal setting - i believe they can just set people up for failure, and who needs that??? --- having been raised to be goal oriented myself i feel i have the ability to say it stinks --- not only can it set one up for failure, it can make for a multitude of missed opportunities and memories in the life journey --- i'd say if your family has enough vision for home schooling, well then that's enough vision right there - hooray for you!!!

Unknown said...

You don't need a vision statement to have a vision.

anno said...

As another homeschooling mom, I would much rather spend my time reading books with my daughter or helping her understand the quadratic formula, or maybe even doing a load of was, than trying to develop a Vision Statement that could never adequately reflect what our family is about. Your post perfectly expresses all my gripes about the highly overrated (to my mind) Vision Thing.

anno said...

make that: a load of wash...