We made the decision to homeschool before our first child was even born. (Since I’m a homeschooling graduate, it was a kind of a no-brainer.)
But I told myself that this homeschool was going to be the very best homeschool that ever homeschooled. I was going to teach my children everything they could possibly know. And I was going to be organized and cheerful every single day. A modern-day Mary Poppins, if you will.
Well, we’ve been learning at home for nine years and I have to admit I wasn’t any of those things, but my kids are still learning and thriving. So you don’t need to be Mary Poppins to homeschool. Turns out, though, that there are a lot of other things that really don’t matter on your homeschooling journey.
Take a look at this list to find out what you don’t need to homeschool.
Image c/o: thandra / depositphotos
What You Don’t Need to Homeschool
A school room.
As much as I would love to have an honest-to-goodness school room, we’ve been getting by without one for years and it’s been fine. Homeschooling without a school room has forced me to simplify our curriculum and books quite a bit, but that’s okay. I think I would have been more focused on keeping the school room organized than actually teaching school anyway.
If you do have a school room, that’s awesome! (Also, I kind of hate you.) But if you don’t, you can still homeschool!
A boxed curriculum.
When I was homeschooled, my mother used Calvert School, which I believe is still a great program. I remember getting the big box of school books and supplies and opening it excitedly. Like a giant educational present.
But we have never used a single boxed curriculum program with our kids. Not one. Why? We can’t afford it! With four kids, shelling out hundreds of dollars for a program has just been impossible. Despite that, we’ve still managed to homeschool our four kids for $250 or less a year. And they’re at grade level and doing fine.
A full schedule.
Remember going to public school? Class starts around 7:50 or so and it continues until the buses arrive at 2:30 (or 3:00 for upper grades). If you’ve been thinking you need to imitate that schedule in your homeschool, you don’t! I don’t know any homeschoolers who teach all day. In fact, if any of you meet a homeschooler who actually teaches class from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., I want to meet that parent and shake her hand.
Even public school teachers don’t actually teach for that long. Kids rotate to classes with different instructors, go outside for recess, have lunch, and spend at least 10 minutes out of every hour lining up for the bathroom.
The amount of actual time I spend teaching in our homeschool is about five hours per week. The rest of the time is spent supervising my kids as they work and practice concepts on their own, and then following up to see if they need help. Homeschooling doesn’t have to take all day or even all week.
Want to streamline your homeschool? Learn how to become a minimalist homeschooler!
Did you find this post encouraging? Read some of our other homeschooling support posts!
And get even more tips for planning your homeschool year (without the stuff you don’t need) on my Homeschool Planning Pinterest board!