I started homeschooling four years ago. My children have always been home with me but I remember when my oldest child turned five there was a real sense as back-to-school photos flooded my social media feeds that we had embarked on a different path. Now, my second child is five and will be starting his kindergarten years at home. So much has changed in those four years for me as a homeschooler, and I am reflecting back on our humble beginnings. So I wanted to share here all the things I didn’t have (and didn’t need) when I started homeschooling.
What I didn’t have:
I didn’t have a kindergarten curriculum.
I didn’t have a dedicated homeschool space.
I didn’t have a chalkboard.
I didn’t have a reliable printer, and I didn’t have a laminator.
I didn’t have a group of close homeschool friends that we gathered with on a regular basis.
I didn’t have the support of some people whose opinions I valued.
I didn’t have beeswax crayons or a house full of wooden toys.
I didn’t have math manipulatives or a moveable alphabet or a perpetual calendar.
I didn’t have a play structure in my backyard.
I didn’t have a large home collection of children’s books.
This all sounds kind of bleak, so let’s talk about what I did have.
I had a warm, safe home for my children.
I had resources to buy and prepare them healthy food.
I had a city park a half block from our house, and a library a block beyond that.
I had a library card!
I had a very supportive spouse.
I had a comfortable, hand-me-down couch where we spent hours reading.
We had the opportunity to travel when we tagged along on my husband’s work trips.
And – most importantly – I had a bright, curious child for whom I knew 100% that homeschooling was the right choice.
When we began homeschooling four years ago we didn’t have many of resources in place that some people might think of as “must-have.” We were certainly not Instagram-ready! But we had time. Some of these things I listed above we collected over the years, and some of them we still don’t have because as time marched on they just didn’t seem important. What we started out with was enough to begin.
The point is, homeschooling isn’t about the stuff. And it isn’t about a beautiful room with the perfect light streaming in on your perfectly arranged homeschool resources. Homeschooling is about heart and soul. It’s about family and the feelings of safety and curiosity you’re crafting at home. Homeschooling (in kindergarten especially!) is about spending time outside, reading books on the couch, making meals together, sharing those meals with joy and reverence, and investing your time in relationships both at home and with friends who will hopefully walk this path with you.
So if you’re like me and you’re about to start homeschooling kindergarten (whether for the first or fifth time!) and you feel like you don’t have all your ducks in a row and you simply don’t have all the resources you wish you did – I encourage you to start anyway. The path may be laid down for you one brick at a time and sometimes you may wish you could see further ahead, wondering where it will lead. But you will make the path by walking.
“Traveler, there is no path.
The path is made by walking.
Traveller, the path is your tracks
And nothing more.
Traveller, there is no path
The path is made by walking.
By walking you make a path
And turning, you look back
At a way you will never tread again
Traveller, there is no road
Only wakes in the sea.”
― Antonio Machado, Border of a Dream: Selected Poems