How To Start Minimalist Homeschooling in 5 Easy Steps
Inside: In my first year of homeschool, I over-planned, overbought, and stressed more than I care to admit! How I wish I had known about minimalist homeschooling right out the gate. Find out how I learned to find joy in homeschooling through a minimalist homeschooling approach.
I remember my first year of homeschool fondly but I certainly had many cringe-worthy moments to be sure. I over-planned, overbought curriculum, and stressed more than I care to admit! How I wish I had known about minimalist homeschooling right out the gate.
I would have saved my kids and me so many hours of frustration and tears. And my wallet would have appreciated the break from the loads of curriculum I purchased.
Wouldn’t it be nice to feel less stressed and overwhelmed while you are focusing on educating your kids? Wouldn’t you like to feel more in control when making important decisions regarding homeschooling?
Minimalism can benefit many areas of life. When it comes to homeschooling, the minimalist mindset is no different. It is an area that can surely benefit from living what that kind of lifestyle has to offer.
Before jumping into the five easy steps to minimalist homeschooling, let’s define what minimalism is.
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What Exactly is Minimalism?
Minimalism doesn’t necessarily mean living without “stuff.” It doesn’t mean that you have much less than someone else. Minimalism invites you to pay more attention to what you truly value, and what brings value to you.
The minimalist lifestyle says:
- I control my space.
- I decide what’s important.
- I choose what gets my attention.
The question then becomes, how do I create a minimalist homeschool? I’m glad you asked!
The Benefits of Minimalist Homeschooling
Hands down, minimalist homeschooling means less stress, chaos, and overwhelm. It allows you to focus on what is most important while keeping your family’s educational goals at the forefront.
This type of homeschooling doesn’t necessarily have to be seen as a method of its own because it is genuinely a lifestyle. The curriculum, activities, and subjects that you choose will naturally align with your chosen values and goals.
And that, my friend, equals a start to a journey with less bumps and bruises. I say less because as with anything, there can be a few hiccups along the way.
New to homeschooling? Check out my post The Beginners Guide To Homeschooling for tips on getting started with your homeschool journey!
How To Gain Freedom Through Minimalist Homeschooling
As homeschool moms, life can become busier and our homeschooling journey can become more overwhelming than we might have ever imagined. Juggling all the responsibilities associated with home, school, friends, church, and outside-the-home activities, no wonder we experience burn-out sometimes!
I am excited to share with you a few ways that you can break free from running ragged, and bring joy and margin back into your life, specifically into your homeschool!
As homeschoolers, we might be tempted to think we’ll set our homeschool on fire by signing up to participate in LOTS of activities within a given year. We sign up and overcommit to co-ops, sports, service projects, youth groups, and various and sundry other activities that take up way too much space in our schedule!
Oftentimes our good intentions to socialize our kids might be rooted in the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses”. None of us plan to sign our life away to busyness and chauffeuring, but if we’re not owners of our time, activities will overtake us!
Building friendships is important, and we desire to have quality (not necessarily quantity) relationships. So, in reality, is such-and-such activity the best way to support this? Are they really enjoying ALL the activities they’ve signed up for?
Evaluating the value provided and the level of enjoyment in extra activities (for all parties, including the chauffeurs) is wise. As it turns out, you can teach and give your kids plenty of opportunities to practice social skills within your own home. After some thoughtful evaluation and consideration, you might find that cutting out certain activities for a season (or two) will bring back some harmony into your home/school!
In addition to evaluating extracurricular activity overload, we may do well to determine where we need more margin in our day-to-day routines to lessen overwhelm. Would it be beneficial to start shopping for your groceries using Instacart or Walmart Pickup so we have more time in our homeschool day?
These services have been a lifesaver in our home several times, and many of my friends use them exclusively because it gives them back the better part of a day by not having to go grocery shopping. Shopping kid-free is always a bonus too!!
Consider having a few short tidy-up times throughout the day to save on having to deal with a bigger and longer clean-up process later. Build-in chore time to your homeschool day to allow your kids to help with the household responsibilities.
Would waking up a little bit earlier in the morning help set your mind and heart in a good place and improve the overall trajectory of your day? I know I prefer waking up a little before the kids to get in my first cup of coffee, read over emails, take care of paying bills, or whatever else makes me feel a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning.
Perhaps snatching a power nap every afternoon helps you recharge and gain back the capacity to serve your family more joyfully? For me, making sure I get to bed around 9:30 pm helps me function better the following day.
I know I’m treading on thin ice here even suggesting the idea of less books. But please hear me out! Just like most homeschooling moms, I bought and tried out plenty of curriculums during our first few years of homeschooling.
Some of the books were great, some were ok for a little while, and some sat for years and were never used. I know it’s the motto of most homeschoolers that you can never have too many books.
I partially agree.
I would say you can never have too many quality, valuable, and well-loved books!
What I mean is, if there is a publisher that you absolutely love and want to stand behind, go for it and get their books. I recommend only getting the ones most necessary for THIS year! Are your book choices providing value for your child at their current or next level up reading level? Is the content of interest to them?
I could get 20 books on caterpillars because we “should” cover that content to be “well-rounded”, but if your child is really into horses right now, go with the books about horses! Maybe next year your kiddo will be totally into bugs!
Personally, Usborne books have been a wonderful choice for my readers who love ALL the animal details but still need an easier reading level. If you have books that are childhood classics or you know you kids love to hear it often, then hold onto that! But if you’ve got an entire wall filled with unused curriculum, it is OK to pass it on to someone who can really use it.
For me, just the sight of many, many books tends to overwhelm my minimalist nature. I am ALL for great books!! But I’m all for keeping the essentials and parting with the stuff (including books) that isn’t serving us well.
5 Easy Steps To Get Started With Minimalist Homeschooling
I use the word “easy” fairly loosely because it does depend on where you are in life. If you are new to this kind of lifestyle, there may be more of a learning curve.
However, if you’re already living this way in other areas, then it will be a bit more simple to adopt these steps into your everyday life.
- Start Fresh. If you’re familiar with the deschooling process, this is similar. It is basically taking a week or two off to step back from doing homeschooling as you know it to gain clarity.
- Get Clear on Your Vision and Goals. This is the time to think about why you are homeschooling and where you’d like to see this journey take your children as they learn and grow.
- Start Reprogramming Your Mind. There is a mindset to embrace when learning how to focus on fewer things. It takes a little dumping and a lot of learning – but it is possible!
- Keep it Personal. In other words, don’t feel pressured to let everyone know about your changes, and at the same time – don’t compare your journey to others!
- Trust and Embrace the Process. This journey will look just as unique as your family. There will be highs and lows, and ups and downs… even still, it is your journey.
Tips of Encouragement For Minimalist Homeschooling
At first, it may seem crazy to drop what you’ve always thought homeschooling should look like and adopt the “minimalist homeschooling” approach. But in the end, it could be what is best for your family.
Imagine focusing on the few key subjects that your child actually loves and watching their faces light up with excitement to learn. Think about the possibilities of money saved from not buying the new curriculum just because it was the highlight of the week.
I hope you’ll be blessed and less stressed by trying some of these tips to make your day-to-day, week-to-week homeschool journey just a little bit simpler, and a whole lot sweeter! In the end, homeschooling is a journey and choosing the minimalist approach is one that offers a path of maximized learning and minimal stress!
CHIME IN: What are your thoughts about minimalist homeschooling? Let me know in the comments below!
Excellent post! I am entering my third year of homeschooling and can totally relate to the pressure to “keep up with the Jones” in terms of activities. Simple is better!