Tuesday, August 12, 2014

5 Things you DON'T Need for Homeschooling

So, you're homeschooling this year....or thinking about homeschooling this year or getting ready to homeschool this year, or continuing homeschooling this year.  (Or maybe you don't care about homeschooling...if so, you might want to just go ahead and skip this one.)

But, if you are homeschooling, you may be wondering what you actually NEED.

You may have been ordering books and supplies and watching the dollars add up while the inward panic sets in. 

You may have been reading homeschooling blogs seeing ALL THE COOL stuff that everyone else has...and wondering if you need it too.

In some ways, homeschooling isn't any different than regular school.

I remember looking with much longing at other kids' Trapper Keepers. (remember those!)  I desperately wanted one with horses....or cute little kittens or puppies.   I never actually got one..and shockingly...I still managed to do just fine without it. In fact, I NEVER lost my homework.  I wish I was as organized now as I was as a 10-year old.  

Well, homeschooling can be much of the same way...especially if you read homeschooling blogs or talk with other homeschooling moms (and I would be willing to bet that you do both.  I know you read at least one homeschooling blog anyway).

Well, rest assured...here are 5 things you don't actually need to homeschool.


A schoolroom....I'm sure you've seen all the blogs...with the beautifully decorated schoolrooms and cute little desks and awesome storage areas  And, those can be great if you have the room to make one.  But it is definitely NOT a necessity. 

A large orange cat to oversee your school day s also nice. Or not.
I've never had a dedicated school room. In fact, IF we ever do live in a house that actually has an extra room to spare...a schoolroom is pretty far down on the list of what I would use it for.  Right now, we do school either on the couch, in the comfy chair (you DO have a comfy chair, right...THAT'S a necessity for school) at the dining room table or on a desk (in the living room).
  We've also done school on beds and floors and outside.  Sometimes it's nice to shake things up a bit. 

Educational stuff on your walls.  You don't have to make your house look like a school to do school.  If you want to, that's great...but if you don't, that's great too.  We have NOTHING educational on our walls. No maps, no alphabet charts, no prayers written out, no blackboards.   Those things can be nice if you like them, but if you don't, they certainly aren't necessary.

And, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Kids don't pick up geography by osmosis from seeing a map on the wall.  Well..maybe some kids do...actually I'm sure a lot do.  But, I'm sure a lot don't.  I went through 12 years of pubic school and I'm sure I was exposed to lots of maps on the walls...but I still don't know exactly where Zimbabwe.

Nearby hiking trails are nice to have however.

So, if you want to have all sorts of educational stuff on your walls..that's great.  But, don't feel like you HAVE to.  A space doesn't need to look educational for learning to happen there. 

Saint-like patience.  If you have the secret to this, please, please, please share.  Pretty please.  I sure don't have it.  In fact, I don't have any more patience than most other mothers..probably less.  When God was handing put patience, I was too impatient to stand in line. (stop me if you heard that joke before.)  Patience is something we always have to work on...everyone does.  Even school teachers.  I can remember quite a few school teachers that yelled quite a bit when I was in school.  Not to say that yelling is okay..but it's human...and it's okay to be human. 

Knowledge of ALL THE THINGS I don't have knowledge of ALL THE THINGS.  In fact, I only have knowledge of A FEW THINGS.  In fact Heidi (7th grade) did her her entire last year of Latin with almost zero help from me.  She is learning Spanish and Latin and studying Tolkien and Ancient Egypt all on her own, with very little help or input from me. They can do that you know...and there are all sorts of online
Use this to learn ALL THE THINGS.
and offline tools to help you and them.

Tons of fancy, expensive manipulatives. When we first started homeschooling my mom gave us a whole bunch of these little multi-colored teddy-bears.  They were fun to play with, but we never actually USED them for math.  Same with all the little cubes and stacking squares and math u see blocks.  Now, some kids DO need and use those things.  But, WE never did. And, in a pinch you can substitute household items or make drawings or otherwise figure something out.  Of course if you like the colorful, manipulatives and are organized enough to keep them together they can be fun but they aren't totally necessary for every kid. 

Bonus: What you DO need. An extra large supply of pencils, pens, pencil sharpeners, erasers, crayons, markers, scissors, tape, glue, etc..  You probably should just buy stock in a pencil company or something. And set up automatic home delivery. And, no matter how many you buy you will still never be able to find what you need when you need it.  Or maybe that is just us. 

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  1. Love it! All of that is so true. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. When I saw this post title, I totally predicted the math manipulative thing. Haha. We have them and yeah, we don't so much use them. The counting bears are currently in the bath tub. :)

  3. love this post - spot on!

  4. pencil sharpeners! multiple ones! Huge supply of pencils--most of which need sharpening. I joke with people, "Hey we homeschool, why would you expect us to have writing utensils?!"

  5. I love this Amelia! I am homeschooling this year for the first time with my 7th and 5th graders. I am keeping it simple and starting slow. We plan to add what we need as we go along.

  6. As far as manipulatives go, I came up with a cheap "counter" idea! We needed something for my 7-year-old hands-on learner to help explain tens position and ones position, so I went to the dollar store and got a super cheapo checkers game. The red pieces are tens, the black pieces are ones. I explained that she needs ten black pieces to "level up" to a red piece. So for the number 23, she shows me two red pieces (on her left) and 3 black pieces (on her right). Cost me one dollar. And then after math is done, we play checkers. Nice. :-)


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