There are a lot of things you need in order to homeschool well, but the things you DON’T need might surprise you. Here are 6 things you DON’T need to homeschool!
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Things You Don’t Need to Homeschool
1. You do not need a lot of money to homeschool well. It’s true! I’ve often said that homeschooling costs what you need it to cost. We’ve run the gamut from full boxed curriculum (see #3 below) to using just pencils, notebooks, and internet access. In the days before the internet homeschooling cost a little more, but you can get everything you need now for just the cost of the internet and a few basic supplies. (We use low cost Chromebooks and this wifi-enabled printer!)
2. A dedicated school room is cool, but not necessary. We’ve been homeschooling for nearly 20 years and we’ve only had a dedicated school room for the last two. In fact, I graduated two kids having never had a school room. We have a school room now and do you want to know what we do with it? We put stuff in it. Seriously, it hosts a bookshelf, a computer we never use, and a table we never use. Why don’t we use it? The kids prefer to do their school work at the table, on the couch, in their beds, on the floor, outside…Remember that we aren’t recreating a school at home, so don’t feel bad if you don’t have a school room. (You don’t need a homeschool room but a comfy chair is great for encourgaing kids to read! My sons, also my reluctant readers, have this Star Wars Saucer Chair. They must love it because they’re constantly fighting over it.)
3. Curriculum packages are definately not needed. Boxed curriculum has its place, especially for new homeschoolers who aren’t yet confident. The thing is, boxed curriculum doesn’t always work for homeschoolers because we’re much more finely attuned to our children’s learning style and needs. There is no way one curriculum supplier can provide everything for an individual, so there are drawbacks. Boxed curriculum is also very expensive, which is a shame since 95% of the homeschoolers I know who use it give it up after a year or two. Before spending the money on a boxed curriculum, ask yourself if it matches your teaching style, your child’s learning style, if it can be legally resold (many cannot), & your expectations for how much time you want to spend homeschooling. It may take more time to plan things out, but it’s worth it if you arent looking for a box.
4. A teaching certificate will not prepare you for homeschooling. It’s true. How do I know? I went to college to become a teacher and the only valuable thing I learned was a few alternate ways to teach early math. Teaching is something you learn as you go, all of the classes in the world won’t prepare you for getting out there and DOING it. The bulk of my education classes dealt with classroom management, which frankly isn’t something I need to deal with. These classes weren’t even that helpful when I taught a co-op, because teaching homeschooling families is a whole different beast. Homeschooled children do not behave like public school children in a classroom. This doesn’t mean homeschooled kids behave differently, just that classroom management is different when attendance isn’t compulsory and the parents are waiting outside the classroom.
5. A supportive extended family & friends isn’t a deal-breaker. Yes, life is easier when your extended family and friends are supportive, but that isn’t the case for many, many homeschooling families. When things get tough remember that YOU are raising your children and YOU are capable of making the best decision for them, and you’re more than capable of homeschooling. It is, however, very important that you create a supportive atmosphere for your family, even if it doesn’t include your extended family.
6. A laminator is fun but you probably won’t use it very long. Some people think I’m crazy, but, I haven’t used our laminator in a decade. Admittedly, it did come in handy in the early 2000s when homeschool resources were difficult to come by, I would lamintae supplies so we could reuse them. Today I just don’t have to save every resource, there is so much available that I can print as needed. (You are gonna want to buy pencils by the case though. Seriously. I like the Ticonderoga brand, we use two cases a year.)
Now it’s your turn!
What supplies do you have that you don’t use, or what don’t you have that you wish you did? Join in the conversation over at our Facebook Page, Facebook Group, Twitter, or leave a comment below. Don’t forget to check us out on Pinterest and Instagram too!
Meg Grooms (she/her) is a decades-long secular homeschooler, mother of many, writer, Florida ex-pat, and all-around swell gal. Meg & her partner have raised their kids all over the USA, finally settling on Southern California. For now, anyhow.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool. Meg is available for speaking engagements, workshops, and gameschooling classes, please see the About Us/Contact Meg page for more information.