Homeschooling is not an easy gig. Ok, it may be easier to not be on someone else's clock to get kids up, dressed, fed, and to school. But, to keep things interesting, functioning, and care for the needs of everyone in the family at the same time all day every day is no cake walk. There are a few things that I just could not do without at this point in our journey.
The LibraryI don't even mean story times (because we don't do those, but I know plenty of families that enjoy it) but just the mass of information right there for us to gobble up. For the free printing we get every week. Librarians who work hard to fill our request lists so books are ready on the hold shelf when we don't have a lot of time, and ones who listen intently to my child ask about their current interests and lead them to more resources for expanding their knowledge. And I have hardly delved in to their website, media centers, and other programs they have available!
Homeschool CommunityIt can be in real life or online. Or both. Having other people to bounce ideas off of, gather new ideas, meet up for group activities, and generally share the praises and pitfalls of the homeschool life. By creating social circles beyond my geographic limitations, I have come across SO MANY new ideas that NEVER would have even crossed my mind. Just don't forget that even thought we might all homeschool, that can look VERY different for each family, and we don't need to compete with each other over styles.
KidsDuh, right? Hear me out. I could plan everything out, schedule lesson plans, organize each day from sun up to dinner and keep track of all of the in between. That may work for other families (no judgement). But what we have found in our house: our children learn in leaps and bounds when we just leave them alone. Support their interests, create space for their projects. Because they create them all on their own when given supplies, time, and our belief that what they do is important work, even it it looks like a giant mess. Being that the main we reason we choose to homeschool is to offer them individualized education, it would be a little silly to just follow an arbitrary curriculum at home.
BooksOf course you need books. What I mean are a few particular books that really helped me take a look at what our goals were/are and as general guides on our path. This isn't to say that we follow these books to a T or even vaguely. They did have an impact on the directions we take and I am just sharing to give you the chance to see as well.
What kind of things do you depend on to make your child's education the best it can be? Even if that isn't homeschool, I would love to hear!