Parents need encouragement in homeschooling now more than ever before. We are seeing more about homeschooling in the headlines these days, but what I’m noticing is that there are still so many misconceptions about what it’s actually like.
It’s not distance learning. It’s not what you’re seeing on Zoom or hearing about from your neighbor whose kid is stuck in front of the computer all day stressing about assignments.
That is NOT homeschooling.
If you’re considering taking the leap and old school homeschooling your kiddos but worry you don’t have what it takes, then you’ve found the right post today!
Today I’d like to debunk some common misconceptions about what it takes to make this whole homeschool thing work. In other words, I’m going to share 10 things you DON’T need to homeschool.
Yeah, some days homeschooling is hard. But lots of things are hard. And the hard things are often the most rewarding things. They’re often the things we’re super glad we did. And they’re usually the most rewarding.
So even though it’s hard, I truly believe anyone can homeschool. To help you worry a little less about it, though, I’d like to share this list of things you don’t need to succeed at the job. You’re welcome. 🙂
10 Things You DON’T Need to Homeschool
1. Big House/Designated School Room
We’ve never had a designated schoolroom, and I am certain if we had the boys would have still ended up using the couch and dining room table as their workspace. They have always had desks in their rooms, but school has pretty much happened just about anywhere other than a schoolroom over the years.
The kitchen bar, dining room table, and back porch were always our hot spots. Are you even a homeschool parent if you do not have a whiteboard hanging in your dining room at one point?
And nothing beats doing school outside on a crisp fall day!
Yes, those amazing homeschool rooms you see on Instagram are fabulous, but they are not necessary.
2. College Degree
One of my biggest insecurities before getting into this whole thing was my lack of education. I graduated high school, but I didn’t finish college.
However, with age comes confidence and experience, and I know now that it was never necessary for me to have a degree to succeed at homeschooling my kids.
Here’s the thing. You’re already parenting them. It’s not that much different except that you spend WAY more time together and your kids have to do some schoolwork for you. And guess what else is great? Not having to answer to seven teachers and doing homework until midnight.
P.S. – You might also be interested in knowing that, according to research, there is NO correlation between the education level of parents and the academic success of their homeschooled children.
3. Approval from Family and Friends
Support from your people is priceless, but you do not have to have it. I come from a huge family, and we were the only people who homeschooled our kids on either side. Talk about weird unsocialized homeschoolers! I am pretty sure they ALL thought we were insane when we announced our choice. Flash forward to what feels like a lifetime later, and it’s just the norm. Surprisingly, you can do things differently than the people you know and still survive.
I am not a very patient person. Thankfully, though, I’m here to tell you that superhuman patience is not required for homeschooling. Anyone that knows me will tell you this is one of my worst qualities. For one, it makes me a terrible listener. And second, I am fast to a fault! I want solutions NOW. Anybody? I’m positive there were days when my kid wished I was in a better mood, but oh well. I’ve yelled, cried, and screamed over homeschooling on more than one occasion.
Human? Yes. Patient? Not so much.
5. A Spouse
Single parent homeschooling is possible! A quick Google search on the topic will bring up a list of encouraging blogs to follow and posts from single parents on this ride. It can be done! Your tribe of support is closer than you realize, and if you can’t find them in person, look online! I’ve had a few stages of parenting and homeschooling where Facebook groups with strangers who understood what we were going through really helped me get through the day. I’m so thankful for online friends!
6. Kids Who Like School
Believe it or not, some homeschooled kids don’t actually like school.
Ask me how I know…
My youngest would like to do anything other than schoolwork, and this has pretty much been his theme since 2nd grade. He’s artistic and free-spirited and school is just a drag. That’s the truth!
He’s older now and is taking high school seriously, thankfully! But I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you it has been challenging keeping him on track and engaged over the years.
When your kids don’t like school, you find ways to keep them interested. Thankfully, there is an entire internet of resources available–not to mention the technology and tools out there for educational purposes. Something will click eventually, and you just ride it out until that happens. I am still trying to figure out the magic homeschool recipe for this one, and we’re almost done.
It’s important to keep in mind that he almost certainly wouldn’t have liked public or private school either. In fact, he probably would have liked them even less! If he’d attended a regular school, he would have been required to sit at a desk and be still and quiet for many more hours each day, and he would have been even less able to do his own thing. I’m afraid it would have been tragic!
7. A Perfect Schedule
I only have experience homeschooling in Florida, but I would imagine public school schedules are similar nationwide. Traditional school schedules are not designed for the student, but more for the community where the students travel to and from the brick and mortar buildings.
Bus schedules are rotated so that there are enough buses to transport elementary, middle, and high school students. This is the main reason school start and end times are set the way they are. High school kids must be up at 5 am to make that early morning 7:15 am bell. And middle schoolers are getting out of school after 4 pm, having started later around 9. Elementary kids fall somewhere in between.
It’s not a big deal if your household schedule isn’t running on the same timeline.
When your kids go to college, guess what they are going to be able to do? Go to class at any time of day they want! When they get jobs, guess when they will be able to work? Multiple times and shifts!
If your child works better later in the day, so be it. Our schedules have been different throughout the years. I went through making them get up and ready for a long time, but now I do not care when the work gets done as long as it does. My son tends to sleep later because he works best in the afternoon.
You can homeschool on a budget!
Being a one-income family has challenges, ya’ll! Sometimes I think there’s a misconception that homeschool families are set, but that is not the case for most families I know. Plenty of vacations and extras have been sacrificed over the years to fund this roller coaster ride we have been on.
You would be amazed at how many valuable educational resources are available for free or close to it. Especially now! Many companies are offering special programs and savings on educational programs and products.
Use your local library!
9. A Co-op
That’s right! You can homeschool without joining the club.
I have a love/hate relationship with co-ops. They can serve many purposes, and I have had times when I loved it for the kids and times when the whole thing felt like an exhausting job.
One thing you need to know about co-ops is that they are often a lot of work! One of the reasons I like homeschooling is because I don’t have a ton of commitments or places to be. This is also one of the reasons I don’t like co-ops.
There are usually lots of rules set in place. Many also require that you take turns teaching classes.
So, weigh the pros and cons heavily. You can easily get together with friends or a few other parents and accomplish the same goals. Find a few other fellow anti-social homeschoolers, and you’ll be set!
10. A Detailed Plan
It’s not necessary that you have a plan right now that will get your children from their current grades all the way through high school graduation.
Take it one year at a time.
At the end of the current school year, take some time (Include your kids if they’re old enough and want to be involved!) to think about what worked well and what could be improved the next year.
Just know that if you are considering your homeschooling abilities, give yourself credit for the awesome parent you already are! Just like all parenting, nothing is ever perfect. Homeschooling is certainly a big, huge mess most of the time at our house, but it’s our mess, and it works.
11. A Homeschool Mascot
I didn’t count this as one of my 10 things you don’t need to homeschool since this is, in my opinion, something you DO need! I highly recommend a homeschool mascot for total homeschool success. 🙂
Adrienne Bolton is a freelance writer and veteran homeschool mom. She began homeschooling in 2009 to meet the needs of her oldest son who struggled with the public school setting. Her boys have had different experiences with homeschooling, but both have thrived in spite of her. Her oldest son transitioned from public school after fourth grade and her youngest is 100% homegrown, having never stepped foot in a traditional classroom. Now with one son in college and one working his way through high school, she is proof anyone can do this. She writes with humor and heart, peppered with occasional snark and sarcasm. When she is not writing or working you can find her with a good book in hand, snuggling her massive Pitbull fur baby, or making something yummy in the kitchen. She loves to cook, bake, and be outdoors in the sunshine. The beach is her happy place and she's a true flip-flop wearing Florida girl. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.