If you have ever contemplated homeschooling your kids, or you’ve talked to parents who have thought about it, you’ve probably heard or thought this a few times:

I can’t homeschool because (insert reason)

The reasons are sometimes outrageous, but often they are semi-valid. Over the years, I’ve heard people give lots of reasons why they can’t homeschool.

I’m not here to convince you that everyone should educate their children at home. There are no homeschool-snobbish bones in my body. However, I think sometimes people have a perception of homeschooling that causes them to believe they could never measure up.

I’m here today to debunk that.

I can't homeschool because I'm unorganized

Homeschool moms and dads are impeccably organized teachers who have years of lessons planned, the house in order, and keep day-planners to track all their outside engagements.

LIES!

I’m going to take this silly idea that in order to homeschool, you have to have an organizational personality, and throw it right out the window!

I can’t homeschool because I’m unorganized

organized chaos

Most of the time, when I hear or see someone make the above statement, they are talking about having a certain type of personality. The kind that loves to make lists and check off boxes. The kind that has their pantry alphabetized and their curriculum bookmarked with color-coded sticky tabs.

I do know some of those kinds of homeschoolers. But having those kinds of tendencies is not a pre-requisite for educating your kids.

I think if you look up unorganized in the urban dictionary, it would include a picture of our house.

The idea also brings with it a sort-of schooling way of thinking. People that make the statement that they are unorganized, and therefore can’t homeschool, are thinking of how a teacher plans and controls a class of 15+ students in a classroom.

Homeschooling doesn’t have to look or function like a classroom at all.

Assuming that you can function in everyday life – that you cook meals on a regular basis, make it to appointments occasionally, know what day of the week it is usually, and can complete simple tasks – you have the ability to homeschool.

Here are some tips for the unorganized personality on tackling some of the aspects of home education:

 

Curriculum and planning

I have an acronym for you – KISS (keep it simple silly)

Seriously, if you don’t think you can get through a stack of very teacher-centered curriculum in a year – just don’t do it. Homeschooling allows for so much customization (infinite customization in fact – because every child is unique). I recommend finding a relaxed style that works for both you and your children. Most homeschool moms I know that don’t tend to love structure have left the traditional curriculum and opted for something else. Some very natural, relaxed styles that might work are:

history lapbooks

Our Ancient History lapbooks – we did one topic each year. Simple yet fun!

You don’t always have to have a yearly plan, or even a monthly one. Pick a topic (ideally you and your kids would pick a topic together) and find all you can about it. Watch videos, read articles, check out books, print out coloring pages, etc.

Make homeschooling fit your lifestyle, not the other way around.

If you are worried about covering the basics – don’t be. You have 12 years and unlimited resources with each child. Unlike a schoolroom that attempts to get a dozen or so kids, all at different developmental levels, to all be on task and target – you have just a few children (or perhaps you have a dozen?). You have the ability to wait until they are ready for a skill, change up the way you present it to them, and have as much one-on-one time as they need.

Some of you unorganized moms may be blessed with a child that desires more structure and organization. You will know if you do – because usually they ask for it. In these cases, let them take the lead and help you come up with a plan for their education.

Keeping records and grades

First of all let me say this. You should not homeschool in order for your kids to get good grades. Because you homeschool, and because there are no other kids to decently compare your kids too, grades are kind of like balloons. They look great, and the best balloons float high – but when they pop they are full of air.

If you push your kids to earn good grades you could end up emphasizing the wrong things. And really, you are the one who is determining their grades. How subjective is that?

Unless you are submitting these grades to some third party I really don’t see the point of them. If your child wants to get into college you can easily do that with a portfolio-style transcript and a few test scores.

As for keeping records – you can do that in a number of ways.

Unless your state requires detailed records or a yearly portfolio, a simple journal or daily log works just fine for homeschool record keeping.

I use this blog and the pictures I take on my camera as sort of a digital portfolio of what we do. You can also:

  • Use a record keeping software
  • I love the free forms at Donna Young’s site
  • Use a notebook, journal, or calendar planner
  • Take pictures and make a digital portfolio (you can even use Pinterest, Evernote, or other apps!)
  • Use notebooking or lapbooks – they impress the grandparents!

Organized chaos

I will admit that over the years I have trained myself to become a little more organized. I’ve seen a lot of the benefits of simplifying our belongings and our activities – and focusing on the most important things in our lives.

But my basic personality hasn’t changed. Our home is not a well-oiled machine.

We live in what I like to call organized chaos.

From the outside, you may not be able to tell what we are accomplishing in our homeschool journey. Stop by my house on any given day, and it will be evident that we live here – we live here hardcore.

But we can see past the messes and the craziness to a world of discovery. My kids are thriving. Our family loves homeschooling.

You CAN homeschool and be “unorganized”.

I can't homeschool because

The bloggers at iHomeschool Network are answering all kinds of “I can’t homeschool because” statements this week  - check out what they have to say about some common perceptions about homeschooling!

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15 Responses to I Can’t Homeschool Because I’m Unorganized

  1. alotofstrops says:

    I am SO glad that you wrote this! I am an unorganized homeschool mom too!! I feel so down hearted when I see all these super homeschool moms with their years planned out and every single minute accounted for. Gosh — we just float through our days…but it all ends up where it’s supposed too. I have one super over achieving learner…and one pokey learner, so I am a bit scattered. Again, just thanks so much for writing this, I really needed to see this…it has encouraged me greatly! :) Yay!!

  2. Christina says:

    I am so happy to read this! We are not a homeschooling family….yet! My kids are finishing this school year and we plan on homeschooling starting in the fall. I am so excited but have worried about organization, possibly converting our finished basement into some sort of school room, curriculum vs. making my own curriculum and so much more. It is refreshing to read your words above. I love this site and it has been very helpful in our homeschooling journey. Thank you!

  3. Heather H says:

    I love how homeschooling doesn’t have to be rigid. We strive for rhythm and routine, but thankfully not regiment. I’d die for sure.

  4. Great post! We are not very organized and it used to stress me out but we have our routine which may not be as perfect as I would like it to be but it works for us.

  5. Rachael DeBruin says:

    New homeschooling Mama here and really liked this post! I do try to organize myself (only for me it’s to help keep me sane!) but I find your expectations have to change once you homeschool…ie. the house may not be as clean, the meals not as planned, the schedule not quite as packed. I’m glad I’m not the only one living in a bit of organized chaos :)

  6. Marissa says:

    Ah this was good for me to read. See, I was a teacher with a classroom and I loved my lists and checking things off. Since I’ve become a mom, I’ve really struggled with basic organization skills (I have three girls, four, three, and 15 months) and while I’m very convinced that schooling my girls at home with a varied method is for us, I’ve been freaking out lately because I’m not sure how I can do it well based on all my training and previous approach to education. This post was a timely reminder to me that while I can always improve and learn better ways, I’m actually doing okay and that my girls are learning and thriving. Thanks!

  7. Great points!
    With a little one approaching school age we have discussed the local school system and if it is right for us, and the homeschool route.
    I worry that my weaknesses in my own education will bring my child down if she does not learn the material well.

  8. Jackie says:

    I started off kinda rigid. I’d been a classroom teacher and treated our homeschool the same way I taught in the classroom. It took a bit, but I learned to change. We tried many different curriculum choices and resources and many worked in various ways, but eventually unschooling is what we settled on.

    My DD is now in high school, so I am learning my way around once again. It was a scary in the beginning, but I’ve stumbled across a few high school sites that have eased my fears. :)

    High School Homeschoolers and Let’s Homeschool High School are my favorites.

    Joyfully,

    Jackie

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