Saturday, September 24, 2011

What Tools Do You Need to Homeschool?

Disclaimer ~  I am in no way an expert on this matter, outside of being a homeschool mom for 13 years now.  These are simply my opinions and reactions to discovering that I am an old timer when it comes to homeschooling.  In that sense, I feel that my answer to the question of what does it take to homeschool is well thought out and honest, and I try to impart this when talking to a parent or grandparent that is brand new to or considering homeschooling. While at Duke and Ronald McDonald house this past week I had the opportunity to talk to two brand new homeschool moms and others who were curious about what it really takes to homeschool.  I also feel it is so important to remember that homeschooling is not for every family or child.  It is an option, but not the only good way.
When I tell people that I homeschool, they usually reply that I must be patient and or very organized.  I am not sure I am excellent in either respect.  I do like to be organized and I am always trying to be patient.  Truthfully, I am not sure either one of the above is important to being a homeschool mom.  I also hear some people say that all you need is a library card and the Bible to homeschool.  In some respects that is true, but it is really a pat answer.  There really is more to being a successful homeschool mom than a library card.

Earthquake Simulator

So what are the tools, you ask?

A thirst for knowledge ~  I think this is one of the most important tools to homeschooling.  If the teacher hates learning or at the very least lacks the desire to learn, how is the student to acquire an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.  Both teacher and child should seek to know more and ask questions.
Building a dam

Exposure to new things ~  Whether that be new books, new places, new thoughts, new people, new toys or new life skills.  We are always learning. Giving a child a saturated environment sure does help the mind keep growing.
A pulley ride ... which pulley works the best?
Exploration ~ This one takes time, but is so important.  When you are learning with your child about something, it is so vital to really dig in and explore the topic.  There is so much to learn about everything and it is extra fun to explore the world together.

Beautiful Minerals

Wonder ~ To have wonder in the world around you with all that there is to explore and learn.  Kids are naturally filled with wonder.  However, wonder can be messy, time consuming and inconvenient at times.  Grown-ups are filled with wonder, too; it just gets buried under the To Do List at times.  Sometimes we have to schedule wonder in this busy world.  So be it!  Keep the wonder alive in yourself and your children.
How do you separate the water from the plastic pellets?

Willingness ~ You need a willingness to spend huge quantities of time with your children.  In fact, you need to be willing to spend almost all of your time with your children!  This is not to say that you will never have Me Time again.  But for now, the majority of your days and nights will be spent with your children and/or preparing activities for your children.
Exploring Sound

Sacrifice and Perseverance ~ Many things in life take sacrifice and homeschooling in no exception.  It also take perseverance.  Homeschooling is not always easy.  In the last 13 years of homeschooling, we have dealt with unemployment, under-employment,  hospital stays, hundreds of doctor appointments, illnesses, and being foster parents.  However, it is all worth it.  I would not trade homeschooling for a minute more of Me Time or a larger paycheck. 
Sharks and stingrays, oh my!

There is no perfect homeschool ~ Most importantly, I think homeschool moms (and dads) need to have fun and know that homeschooling is a journey and not a race.  Everyday we have dozens of opportunities to impart our love of learning and guide our children on the path of learning.  Even on the poor days/weeks when all of our plans go up in smoke, our children are still learning. We have homeschooled through many crises, and the kids have learned so much during those difficult times.  Sometimes the life lessons are more important than the academic ones.  I love a saying I read recently ~ Don't wait for the storm to pass ... Learn to dance in the rain.  That phrase rings so true for our family.  If we sat and waited for the storms in our life to pass we would miss everything.
Digging for fossils.

All of the photos were taken at the Catawba Science Center.  What a fun place!



  1. Love this post! Very well said!

  2. Beautifully put!!

    What a blessing it is to homeschool!

  3. Fantastic post! My thoughts exactly and so very well put! Thank you!!
    Shonda at hollyhock-hill who can't log in or post comments most of the time for some weird reason!!

  4. What a great post! Loved the pictures too. That looks like a great museum! We loved having y'all here. I'm sorry I missed you on Saturday though! I've been praying today and look forward to hearing how things went!


  5. Absolutely! You nailed it on the head, every bit of it.

  6. This one is a keeper -
    "Don't wait for the storm to pass ... Learn to dance in the rain." Thanks for passing on your well-earned wisdom as a veteran homeschooler.

    Ring true,