The Essential Trait of Successful Homeschoolers

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Necessity is the mother of invention, right?  

Or, to say it another way, desperate homeschool mothers sometimes balance a hose on a chair with a rake to occupy the toddler so the other kids can finish their science.

resourceful homeschooler outdoor hose rake water contraption

Tacky? Yes. But did the kids finish science? Yes. Was the toddler happy and engaged? Yes. Did it cost anything (other than my pride when neighbors raised an eyebrow)? No. 

Therefore, in my book the idea was a rousing….

SUCCESS!

In our years homeschooling I’ve noticed one quality that permeates the homeschool community. (Sometimes it involves gardening supplies but usually not.) This quality takes on different forms depending on the goals, needs and personalities of each unique family but the basic common trait is the same. 

Homeschoolers are RESOURCEFUL. 

By definition, parents who choose to home educate have chosen to take their child(ren)’s education into their own hands. They’re saying “no” to certain resources in exchange for time and freedom. It’s a trade-off.  

Homeschoolers must be resourceful in order to compensate for the forfeited resources and utilize their time and freedom effectively.

If you’ve never considered yourself a very resourceful person but still want to homeschool, don’t panic! In each situation, large or small, the key is to take stock of what you HAVE and find ways those assets can improve your situation. 

Maybe your situation is a backyard science lesson gone awry. What do you have on hand that you can use to occupy the littles and buy yourself 15 uninterrupted minutes? 

Or is there a larger problem you need to solve? What if your grade school son loves piano but the cost for private lessons is out of reach? 

Brainstorm your relevant resources. Are there less expensive group lessons at the Park District? Do you have a relative who would love the opportunity to teach piano in exchange for free pet-sitting? Maybe the moms at your co-op know of some alternatives or are willing to go in on a group rate for a shared lessons. 

Where there’s a will there IS a way!

Especially for the biggest issues, finding creative solutions can mean the difference between homeschooling success and defeat. 

Many homeschoolers have found their way through really tough issues – chronic illness, single parenthood, impossibly tight budgets – by determining where they are now, where they want to be and what practical steps they can take to get there. 

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been homeschooling for years, set aside some time this week to take stock of your resources. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Time & Money – Do you have more money than time or vice versa? Are there things you can DIY to save money or outsource to save time? If money is the problem, check out resources like the book Homeschooling on a Shoestring and blogs like MoneySavingMom for ideas.
  • Physical Resources – Take a few minutes to jot down your material assets like art supplies, physical spaces, games, toys, equipment, technology, local libraries and other public resources, vehicles, etc. Think about how they could be used to benefit your homeschool. Don’t worry, you don’t have to own a lot of material possessions or a big house to homeschool. Basic supplies, a library card and a creative spirit can go a long way!
  • Friends & Family – Do you have friends who know Spanish or parents who can help with childcare and math lessons? In general, people love to share their knowledge and help a friend. Think about win-win arrangements you could try with the people in your life.
  • Personality – What are your strengths and what do you love doing? Are you a whiz at planning ahead? Creative problem solving? Researching curricula? Lesson Planning? Caring for littles? Cooking? Gardening? Writing? Underwater basket weaving? Whatever your talents, there are ways to make them work for you in your homeschool.

To be resourceful, you first have to know what your resources are. Even just a half hour spent looking at your resources is a huge step towards becoming a successful homeschooler. 

So, whether your problem at hand is small or large or if you’re just getting ideas for the next school season, begin by focusing on what you DO have (not what you’re lacking) and you’ll be well on your way to finding solutions.

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The Essential Trait of Successful Homeschoolers resourceful homeschooler's silhouette on orange background