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Follow homeschoolers Nadia and Aidan as they travel the USA! Each book in this series explores a new state and a new research topic. Along with their parents and pet turtle, they find adventure and learning everywhere.

...and just what is that mysterious device of theirs?

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Topics: computer,education,empowerment,favorites,homeschooling,mindful parenting,relationships,television,top ten,Unschooling

Top 10: Essentials for Homeschooling Successfully

I was recently asked in a round about way what items I felt were essential for homeschooling success.

This is the IN ORDER list of tangible purchases my family couldn’t live without in 2010 and still be a successful homeschooling family:

  1. High speed internet and at least one household computer that all members of the family are equally entitled to use–each member of my family has their own computer, plus we have several more. This is vital for researching, and much more!
  2. Organization products–shelving, baskets, bins, and more.  Homeschoolers tend to own many supplies for their kids, so keeping track of them all in an easy to find (and organized) way is essential. We have several walls and closets with floor to ceiling shelving, yet it’s barely enough. All the successful homeschooling families we know have similar layouts.
  3. Seemingly endless supply of consumables–paper, pens, pencils, markers, glue, tape, wire, stickers, etc. I’d also put white board (or chalk board or other type of LARGE writing surface) in this category since we use ours nearly daily for working out problems, making lists, and drawing pictures. What else could we write on to have the whole family participate in a group discussion?
  4. Television with access to lots of channels and shows–so much can be learned from good television. I’ve never met a homeschooler who watched too much television.  We also like online television shows, shows on DVD, and Netflix instant access abilities.  I cannot comprehend how in the world I would have been able to share knowledge about certain things without a television. Shows such as The Universe, NOVA, Life, Planet Earth, just to name a few, couldn’t be matched with only a book or a website.
  5. DVR–We homeschoolers want to watch things when we want to watch them, not when television channels say we should.  [Yes, television can be extremely educational!]  Every single person in my family has learned things from television that we could have never learned elsewhere without a lot of traveling, time, and expense. I currently can’t afford a trip to Mars for my daughters, yet television has taken us there and further. Perhaps I’ll spring for a rocketship next year…
  6. Audible.com subscription combined with a library card.  We can now download audio books quickly and easily from both of these sources whatever time of day we want or need new content to listen to. iPods or other MP3 players are nice to have, also, in order to make these files portable.
  7. Games, games, and more games. We have so many games, they fill a wall of our house (which we’ve now named “The Library”).  Until last year, we didn’t have any handheld game systems or a Wii.  We have both now and my kids play sports on the Wii nearly every day.
  8. Books, books, and more books. We regularly get rid of books we don’t like.  Even still, we have thousands of books here.  While we love the library, we love owning our own books, too, especially ones we know will be read many times. We also all write fiction and non-fiction, so having a large supply of examples is great. 🙂
  9. Tools–we’re always in the middle of building something, be it a wall, a path, a picture frame.  We have hammers and pliers and many more complicated tools which our kids have access to.  While neither has used a circular saw, they are both welcome to as soon as they want.  We’d be happy to help them through the whole process safely.  They’ve both seen us use tools so often that many haven’t needed to be explained. My younger daughter’s recent favorite tool is a hair brush; she’s learned to do some amazing things with it. 🙂
  10. Good food–seems like a silly thing to add to this list, but food has been a huge source of growth and learning in my family.  We’re always checking out new recipes, new restaurants, and new foods we’ve never tried.  My kids especially enjoy searching for fruits they’ve never had (we haven’t found any new ones at the grocery stores around us for a while, but we almost always look).  My older daughter, especially, could spend hours reading labels at the grocery store quite frequently. Plus, I believe that healthy food choices are vital to healthy brain and body growth.

This is the IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER list of intangible items my family couldn’t live without in 2010 and still be a successful homeschooling family (all are requirements for my husband and I, my kids have never needed such a list since they seem to know these things intuitively):

  1. Respect for the children
  2. Joy
  3. Appreciation
  4. Love and admiration
  5. Humor
  6. Friends and family
  7. Parental desire to actively work on being better parents at all times
  8. Patience and ability to listen
  9. Desire to explore, learn, and grow
  10. Ability to see the big picture
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