I am reading Goal-Free Living by Stephen Shapiro at the moment, and he is proposing an alternative to the goal-seeking, target setting society that we have become.

He believes that goals, whilst admirable, can often send us in the wrong direction – focusing on a result that won’t make us happy or fulfilled, and keeping us from seeing the true opportunities our life presents us.

“Instead, the secret is to treat your life like an unplanned and unpredictable trip down a scenic, winding country road. You are guided by your internal compass and you learn to follow your passions, even if they seem to be a detour. Every day is an adventure, with life unfolding before your eyes. You avoid setting large life goals so that you are free to focus on the present.”

He  says that his approach will still lead to success – but often in unexpected and fulfilling ways.

I think there are some good lessons here for homeschooling.

Often homeschooling is focused on ‘results’. We set goals of things our children should learn. We plan out our homeschool schedule in detail. We worry about how our children will graduate and take exams.

And yet, doesn’t this cause us much of our stress? The stress in homeschooling comes from the worry that you are doing the ‘wrong’ thing – that you aren’t ‘doing it right’. I worry about missed opportunities. I simply don’t have time to do it all and yet that means deciding which things will fall by the wayside.

I touched on this a little in ‘Unfinished Homeschool Projects‘ in that sometimes it is better to ‘move on’ than doggedly finish a project.  Going with the flow might be a better homeschooling strategy after all.

I am reminded of Melissa Wiley’s great article on Tidal Homeschooling.

Here she talks about the ‘ebb and flow’ of homeschooling. How sometimes they ‘amble along the shore’ of homeschooling, taking things as they come and enjoying the views. Other times she:

‘charters a boat and we set sail with purpose and direction, deliberately casting our net for a particular type of fish.”

Doesn’t that sound like a great balance?

I think that we already follow this approach in the way we do things – we tend to get stuck into a homeschool idea for a while and then wonder aimlessly for a time before choosing a new project.

But now I  see that this can be a very successful strategy. Not just a recharging of batteries (as I thought), but a deliberate way of opening ourselves to new learning opportunities and unexpected directions.

I think that ‘goal free homeschooling’ might actually get me to ‘guilt free homeschooling’!!

What about you? Are you a big planner? Or do you go with the flow? Do you think dropping your to-do list for a while might take your homeschooling in some new and exciting directions? Or does it sound like your worst nightmare?


Do share!



Goal-free Homeschooling — 7 Comments

  1. Pingback: Carnival of Homeschooling: Welcome to My Homeschool | NerdFamily Blog

    • Sarah, that sounds like a good balance. A long term aspiration with enough space and freedom to enjoy the now. Thanks for the comment. Julie.

  2. This about sums up where I am at the moment….but I also agree with Tim-when we have goals we need to be flexible too-this is why I like the go with one idea for a while and then relax for a while….ebb and flow……funny I thought I wasn’t being a great home school mom because of this “style”-thanks for this post it’s helped me feel like it’s ok to go with our own flow!
    Nikki recently posted..Cape Point Ostrich Farm Outing

  3. Like Sarah, we are more of a “big picture” kind of homeschooling family. I am shooting for raising competent, loving and joyful people who know how to solve problems, find information, and enjoy life learning. I’m not big on micro managing the process, but being open to the changes and challenges it brings. We have some big family goals, like exploring all 50 states in the next few years, but again, the details are open open.
    Pamela recently posted..Vegas for Kids? Ummm, not so much.

  4. Purpose environment is inevitable – whether it’s to make a cup of tea or to get a yr off to see travel the globe, we are continually environment ambitions. It’s just a query of regardless of whether or not we are aware of the truth we are doing it. For illustration, the creator of ‘Goal Totally free Living’ couldn’t have acquired his e-book printed with no a degree of planning and future focused action!
    Greg recently posted..Understanding Men in Relationships

  5. I don’t believe going goal free is an option. I do believe that if unexpected opportunities or ideas present themselves they should be acted upon. Thus creating a sidegoal that can equally lead to success as your main goal.