Education is a big deal. Let’s face it, the homeschool choices we make and our day-to-day execution shape our children’s futures for better or worse. No pressure, right?
It’s no wonder we end up second guessing ourselves, switching curriculum when new options are available, and signing up for every enrichment activity possible.
It sounds a little ridiculous when you type it out, but we’re all just hoping for a successful homeschooling experience that prepares our kids for the future and helps them achieve their goals.
That’s a good thing, but since what we’re doing each day impacts our kids and their futures so greatly, it’s easy to get trapped into thinking there are tons of things needed in order to homeschool successfully.
Fortunately, successful homeschooling really comes down to one thing. But before we get to that, let’s look at what’s not needed.
What You Don’t Need for Successful Homeschooling
A Huge Budget
An unlimited homeschool budget sounds pretty dreamy, right? Think about it: you’d have the freedom to find an item and purchase without shopping around for the lowest price. You wouldn’t have to worry about sale dates, coupon codes, or dealing with all the faster fingers in those used curriculum groups on Facebook. What’s not to love about that?
That big homeschool budget could also provide the luxury of adding extra books, school supplies, and all those cool new experiments and activities that pop up in the middle of a school year.
Lastly, an unlimited budget would also make room for new midyear purchases when the curriculum just isn’t working or you’re tempted to abandon your current homeschool plans and go a different route.
No doubt, a big homeschool budget could make things easier, but here’s the thing: it’s nice, but it’s not necessary.
Successful homeschooling isn’t dependent on your budget. It has a lot more to do with your willingness to find resources to help your kids learn, your commitment to collaborating with them, and the discipline to turn your head when the shiny new things are everywhere you look.
When it comes down to it, it’s more about how you use what you have and less about how much you paid for it all.
I’m not going to pretend like I don’t miss our old homeschool room. That would be incredibly dishonest. I like things tidy and organized and I especially like having a designated place to keep said things tidy and organized.
Also, for the sake of transparency, I love looking at homeschool spaces and mentally designing our ideal space. I love the thought of a beautiful, inspiring room that fosters learning and captures who we are as a family.
But at the end of the day, we already have that. We have our home.
While a designated schoolroom particularly makes life easier from a storage perspective, your homeschool isn’t defined by where it happens. It’s who you are and how you learn. That shouldn’t change from room to room or place to place.
By all means, continue pinning all the room ideas and following homeschoolers who share beautiful Insta photos with shiplap, natural light, and super cool organizational hacks from Ikea (I sure will…), but remember none of that is required for successful homeschooling.
After all, with or without a schoolroom, homeschoolers will be homeschoolers. They’ll work on the porch, read in bed, write in the floor, and learn wherever they are. A designated schoolroom won’t change any of that for the long haul.
A Teaching Degree
Think you need a teaching degree in order to be successful in homeschooling? Think again.
I’ve shared before that I don’t have an education degree and why I don’t let that stop me from homeschooling. You shouldn’t either.
I’ve never met a homeschooler with an education degree who found it all that helpful. That’s because there’s quite a difference between teaching in a classroom environment and homeschooling your own kids.
With homeschooling, you can customize learning to meet your children where they are, explore their interests, and teach them to learn.
Conversely, classroom teaching often centers around government-structured standards and how to help the majority of students reach them. There’s an emphasis on classroom management and following a predetermined course of study, which means there’s usually little room for the curiosity and adventure that homeschoolers value.
You don’t need a teaching degree to be successful because, while it does prepare you from a classroom management perspective, it doesn’t prepare you to teach all the things on every possible level.
There’s not a traditional school teacher out there who could teach any subject on any given level without some preparation. For example, a 3rd grade teacher may be a rock star at teaching all subjects covered for 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grades, but that teacher would have to study and shift approaches considerably to suddenly teach calculus or AP world literature.
The same would be true if you asked an amazing high school world literature teacher to teach a classroom of first graders how to read. We all go through stages of learning and reviewing; an education degree doesn’t exempt anyone from those stages.
There’s plenty of time to learn what you need to know before you need to share it with your kids. You can learn those things without a teaching degree and still have a successful homeschooling experience.
The Patience of a Saint
“I could never homeschool my kids. I don’t have enough patience.”
I think most homeschool parents have heard that one (or maybe even said it themselves) once or twice, but thankfully you don’t have to be a model of patience to homeschool successfully.
If you could bottle up patience and sell it in little jars, I’m sure we’d all buy some. Since that’s not really an option, know that patience can be developed and strengthened over time. In the meantime, focus on self awareness.
It turns out that recognizing your strengths and weaknesses covers that patience deficit quite well.
Knowing your triggers helps you avoid or diffuse explosive situations before they become a problem. Similarly, knowing your sweet spots helps you position yourself accordingly so your kids get the best part of you.
That’s why patience isn’t such a big deal in successful homeschooling. You can get past a lack of patience pretty easily as long as you’re willing to apologize for those less-than stellar parenting moments and give your kids and yourself some grace.
Approval from Anyone and Everyone
You know how it supposedly takes a village to raise a child? Good news: you aren’t required to give the village a voice in how you raise your child. This is why you don’t need approval from the village for successful homeschooling
Your friends, parents, and neighbors don’t matter, nor does the lady at the grocery store giving you the stink eye. You still have to interact with these folks and have them in your life, minus the lady in the store, but they don’t have to approve of your decision to homeschool in order for it to be successful. Isn’t that a relief?
You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your decision to homeschool and you don’t have to seek approval from people who aren’t likely to give it.
Most people question the idea of homeschooling because they can’t imagine education without a school bus involved. It’s all they know and it’s why they have a hard time understanding decisions to educate differently.
Plus, they’ve all probably bought into the lie that parents aren’t capable of teaching their own children. It’s as if the education they received isn’t enough to pass on to anyone else. That doesn’t speak too highly of the system they support, but that’s a conversation for another time, right?
Even so, you don’t need their approval in order to successfully homeschool because they aren’t responsible for your children. God gave them to you; that’s why you get to decide how they spend their days and who gets to influence them.
As long as your spouse is in agreement with your choice to homeschool and your homeschool complies with any government regulations, the village has no right to speak into your life. End of story.
The Only Thing You REALLY Need to Homeschool Successfully
Now that we know what isn’t needed, let’s address the one thing you really do need for successful homeschooling.
It all comes down to a love for learning.
Your love for learning will set the atmosphere in your home and shape your family culture. It’s all you need for successful homeschooling because it will help you lead your children well, face problems that arise, and spur you on when homeschooling is hard.
Big budgets and schoolrooms make things easier logistically, but they aren’t necessities. A beautiful schoolroom is just a room and money is just money; neither matter in terms of homeschooling if you’re not learning alongside your children. You’ve got to lead by example.
As for you and your personal qualifications, credentials will only take you so far if you don’t love learning. After all, you can’t lead someone down a road you’re not traveling.
And approval? Pro tip: the more you’re learning and exploring with your kids, the less you’ll care what everyone else thinks about your homeschool.
Curricula, spaces, approval, and anything else you can think of, your love for learning trumps it all.
Without that love your efforts will eventually fall flat. Sure, you can sit in the same house while your child works through the K12 virtual public school courses. It can be done, but successful homeschooling is so much more than being sure your kid meets the requirements.
Successful homeschooling is raising children who love to learn, spreading the feast of learning for them, and putting them in a position to make connections between all the people, places, and ideas they’ve encountered along the way.
That’s why your example as a learner is so valuable and why it’s the only thing you really need to homeschool successfully.