This post may contain affiliate links. View the full disclosure statement for more details. Sign up for the Schooling a Monkey newsletter to gain access to more hands-on activity ideas!
What do you need to homeschool?
My once-snarky answer to this question was “children,” but there is a lot more to it than that.
I remember what it felt like to be a new homeschooler, and what’s more, I remember what it was like for my mom to jump into homeschooling back when there was a choice between two curriculum. I’ve been around the homeschool world a long time, and I can say with confidence that you need the following things to get started with homeschooling.
What Do You Need to Homeschool?
If you are new to homeschooling, you don’t need everything to homeschool successfully, but you do need these things.
A curriculum that makes you happy
There is about a 95 percent chance you won’t find your perfect curriculum the first year (these tips can help), but that is totally fine. In fact, all that really matters the first year is if you are happy and your kids are happy. Success is set up from the start, and success happens when everyone is happy. So, don’t necessarily choose curriculum the first year that you think will make your children the next Marilyn vos Savant but rather one that you think looks the most fun. You’ll love teaching it more and your kids will love doing it more. You can try something harder after the initial shock of homeschooling dissipates.
Access to books
You need a lot of books to homeschool. You don’t have to buy them all. A library is a wonderful place filled with magic. You’ll likely want to get new books when you realize you hate at least one of the subjects you purchased for the year (this still happens to me even though I’ve homeschooled for seven years).
Support from veterans
Homeschooling is typically more exclusive than public schooling, but you still need support. I suggest getting involved with a support group that is actually supportive to new homeschoolers. Larger cities often have homeschool classes and meet-ups specifically to help newbies.*****************
Determination and patience
Everyone will tell you homeschooling is hard, but until your 10-year-old is screaming at you that she hates school and wishes she had never been born, you don’t know quite how hard it can get. Getting past these days requires infinite patience and a stiff upper lip. Not every day is a hard day. We stock chocolate for these days.
A solid plan
Self-discipline tops the list for what do you need to homeschool. You’ll find you will hate the thought of school some days as much as your kids. But, teaching must go on. Self-discipline is easier with a solid plan. There are hundreds of homeschool planners out there that make it easy to set up a plan for your homeschool year.
Flexibility is the second character trait you need after self-discipline. You need the determination to see your plan through, but also the flexibility to throw out your plan when it isn’t working that day, or week, or month. Flexibility allows you to face the bumps in the road without tearing your hair out.
A Spirit of adventure
Teaching your children is amazing. One of the best things homeschooling give you is the ability to follow any question as far as you want. Want to learn about the life cycle of a pill bug? Take a week and raise one! Want to learn all there is to know about the Grand Canyon? Go visit it and find out! Homeschooling enables you and your kids to explore, create, and imagine.
1,001 people will tell you that you cannot homeschool or aren’t fit to teach your children. They are wrong. You made the decision to homeschool for a reason. Have confidence in that.
What do you need to homeschool? A vision, a child, and a question. That is all.
More Advice for New Homeschoolers
Join the Homeschooling 101 group for more hands-on teaching ideas!