There are so many great homeschooling programs out there, and just by doing a search on the internet, you can come up with more than you could ever really research or use. Let me stop and offer you a word of encouragement here. Because after 10 years of homeschooling and 2 homeschool graduates, I have tried a lot of different programs and heard about even more than that.No matter what you choose to use your homeschooling program must develop critical thinking skills, and there are two great ways to do this regardless of which curriculum you adopt.Homeschooling Programs Should Use the Socratic MethodThe Socratic method involves using questions that are not just yes or no questions. Instead, you ask “open-ended” questions, ones that require a little more thought. You could say that the quality of your questions determine the quality of your homeschool. And homeschool not in the four hours that you are doing homeschool. I am talking about the real education that you are giving your kids. What kind of questions do you ask them?Think about this. When you ask your kids a question, whether in your study time or running errands,etc., do you give them time to think and give you an intelligent answer? Try this: ask them a question and then close your mouth. Too often, we do not like that silence, even at the dinner table. Seriously. Ask a question and be quiet. You do not realize what is going on in their heads. To really think through an answer is going to take some time. Give your kids the time they need to think.If they are not sure and you are not getting anywhere, do not give them an answer. Ask another question. Keep delving into that Socratic dialogue where you are continually asking questions to draw their thoughts out of their heads. At home, there should be enough comfort and safety that they can say whatever is on their mind.Homeschooling Programs Should Develop LeadersOne of my favorite phrases is “raising leaders, not followers.” We wanted you all to grow up to be leaders, leaders in your home who could think well, make good decisions, and lead your kids, but then also have the ability to start a business and lead as an entrepreneur as well.I know we tend to think academically, but with home school we had so much freedom that we were able to raise our kids to at least understand what an entrepreneur is. Someone who could think for themselves, work out problems and situations, and interact with employees, co-workers, and customers.You see, it is not just about studying to get a good job. Most people who have jobs are followers. They go to school. Someone tells them what to study and how to answer the questions on the test. They test them. You move on, then you go to college. You do the same thing, maybe in a specialized field, and then you go get a job, and someone is still telling you what to do.Now I am not saying jobs are wrong, but those people tend to be more followers than leaders.So we started Curriculum Connection as an extension of our home school. We opened it so that our kids would know what it takes to run a business and how to manage it. They had the opportunity to learn all sorts of things. Even my 5-year-old son would sit on my lap, and we would type invoices out when people would come up to our store. We were only open 2 afternoons a week. We built it around our schedule, our family. I was not going to make this a full-time business when my children were growing up.Buy they learned so much: how to help people, how to print the checks and enter bills, and of course, work ethic. Sometimes they had to put some time in and do things that were not as much fun. But we tried to throw in a few extra vacation days, like when we went to California and went to Disneyland and went down to the beach and San Diego. So we tried every once in a while to do fun things when we had to go out of town and work like that.But the I watched them grow and develop key critical thinking skills that have given them a boost in college and life. I have watched them become young men and women who lead in their homes, churches, and communities. So whatever homeschooling program you use to teach and train your children, make sure it includes big doses of critical thinking skills.