On Being Organized and Prepared to Homeschool

On another blog, a mom says, “I don’t want to start homeschooling until I’m organized and fully prepared.”

Everyone has their own need of how much organization they like to have in their lives to do what they need to do.

But if we can’t do something until we’re organized, that doesn’t mean we need to be more organized. That means we are procrastinating. Organization has become and excuse.

People who honestly need organization to function and succeed don’t put off things until they are organized. They are organized in doing the things that they do. It is part of the process.

If you think you need to be more organized to start homeschooling, or to homeschool better, or to live better or whatever, you’re using it as an excuse.

I use not being organized enough as an excuse all the time. I have found that whether or not I’m organized doesn’t matter, I still have trouble getting certain things done. But when I hunker down and actually do the things I fear/don’t like/whatever, that my natural tendancy to have a certain amount of organization emerges on its own. And I find that if I really want to do something, nothing stops me, even a lack of organization.

When I say to myself (or even in conversations with others) that not being “ready” is what’s keeping me from starting now, or that I want to get ready before starting something – it is procrastination.

You don’t have to be organized or prepared with stuff to homeschool. You don’t even need a schedule. If you are open and ready to get going, organization and your schedule will emerge. Whether that be a full all-day hourly schedule, or a wing-it approach, you will naturally gravitate towards what works.

The most important thing about being “prepared” if you’ve never homeschooled before is this: You have NO idea what it takes to homeschool. You have NO idea what your family needs, what your children need, when teaching at home. So how could you EVER be prepared to start? How could you ever have the right materials or be organized enough?

What if – you spend three months buying curriculum, making a schedule and doing all that – and you come to find out that your kids hate doing it that way? If you’ve spent months preparing, what is the likelihood that you’ll force this to work when every signal points to it being the wrong path? If you haven’t prepared, but are working as you go, what is the likelihood that you’ll be willing to change and adapt to your family’s needs?

Don’t prepare yourself with materials. The only place that needs to be prepared is inside your head and your heart. If you are finding that you are basing your readiness by the stuff that you have – you are not looking inside yourself. If you are ready in your heart and in your head, you won’t need even one thing to get started. (But you will have bought things or done research because being ready means you are doing things that work towards the goal of being successful in that thing.)

Don’t use curriculum or books or a schedule as a crutch. Use it as a tool. You own the tools, they don’t own you.

If you find yourself compelled to make a schedule, because when you make one, it feels “right”, then do it. But when your day starts, if you leave your heart open to the needs of your children (and if you believe in God, what God has planned for you that day), then it’s OK to leave that schedule. If you can’t leave that schedule, you have become a slave to your program, and it is no longer a tool for learning. (And if you believe in God, if you force a schedule that He is trying to move you away from, what does that mean?)

So, if you are on the edge, and you are waiting to be “ready”, just stop. Stop getting ready. Stop procrastinating. Look in your heart and at your children, and just do it. If you don’t, it makes me wonder – do you really want to homeschool?

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2 Responses to “On Being Organized and Prepared to Homeschool”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    Great advice Tammy. I wrote something in a similar vein a little while ago:

    http://throwingmarshmallows.homeschooljournal.net/2006/06/26/116/

    Basically starting to homeschool is like becoming a parent for the first time…you can read every book and prepare in many ways, but then you hold your child in your arms and realize that there was no way that you could possibly really prepare yourself for becoming a parent…

  2. Coincidental Horoscope « Just Enough, and Nothing More Says:

    […] Yesterday, I posted about how the desire to be organized is an excuse not to actually do the work I’m organizing for. […]


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