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.
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.
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
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:
- Charlotte Mason (love love love!)
- Unit Study (can include lapbook and notebooking AKA Delight-directed learning)
- Unschooling (what we have transitioned into)
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!
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”.
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!