A minimalist homeschool prevents you from feeling buried under projects, lesson plans, schedules, and activities and overwhelmed with your homeschool schedule. Homeschooling doesn’t have to be complex. You can simplify your curriculum, schedule, supplies, and space. Minimalist homeschooling may sound great, but if you don’t know where to start, we’ve created a list of five simple steps to help you streamline your homeschool day.
What is a Minimalist Homeschool?
A minimalist homeschool involves paring down our schedules, activities, time, and energy so we can focus on what’s most important to us. In case you’re not familiar with it, minimalism is, according to Joshua Becker, “the intentional promotion of the things we most value, and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.” In your journey, minimalist homeschooling means eliminating all unnecessary possessions and activities and keeping only the ones that fit your family’s values and goals.
Minimalism is more than just getting rid of stuff. Minimalist thinking requires us to constantly ask ourselves questions. “Why do we have this in our house?” “Why are we in this activity?” “Why am I spending so much time and energy worrying about this?” But the most vital question to consider is, “What is your reason for homeschooling?” Take time to evaluate your goals, priorities, and purposes to establish a homeschool that emphasizes what you value and leaves out the things you don’t.
5 steps to simplify your homeschool
1. Choose a minimalist homeschool curriculum
To simplify your homeschool curriculum, determine to buy only what you absolutely need, like textbooks, lesson plans, teacher guides, and worksheets. You may decide to leave out certain subjects like handwriting or spelling that can be covered in other subjects based on your child’s needs. Again, this requires us to ask ourselves, “What do I want my children to learn this year? What subjects do they need to grow in most?” If you need help choosing curriculum, BJU Press offers every essential resource to help you achieve your homeschooling goals.
2. Create a minimalist homeschool room
Make your school room as clutter-free as possible. This may mean removing every item from the room so you have a blank slate to work with. Add things back to the room once you have determined which things must stay and which ones you can sell, donate, or discard.
Tips for creating a clutter-free homeschool space
- Declutter your homeschool space. Look around the rest of your house and see if there is anything that is merely taking up space and has no function or meaning to you. If so, take it out.
- Keep desks bare except for essential supplies and books. Knickknacks, photos, and extra supplies will only distract your child.
- Store all your school materials in one or two storage containers such as plastic totes. This will help you keep everything organized and prevent you from collecting extraneous items.
- When possible, discard materials or finished projects you don’t need anymore.
If you simply can’t bear to part with something, find another place for it in your house.
3. Plan a minimalist homeschool schedule
The great thing about homeschooling is the ability to be flexible and accommodate your children’s needs. Schedules are helpful and important to follow, but they should not control us and need to be modified at times. You may decide to start school at 9:00 a.m. and finish around 1:00 p.m., but change this schedule later depending on how the day is going. When I was in high school, my mom allowed me to do most of my schoolwork in the evening because I was not a morning person and could study much more effectively in the evenings.
Tips for simplifying your homeschool schedule
- Keep your schedule as simple as possible. Remember, you can always add to it.
- Keep meals simple and easy to prepare and clean up. With everything else you have going on, your sanity will thank you.
- Start with the core subjects you prioritize, such as math, science, and reading.
- Move on to other subjects that can benefit your child as you have time. Limit your extracurricular activities to no more than one or two per child. You can always add more, but it’s hard to remove activities from a schedule, especially ones that require long term commitment.
- Guard your family’s time. You, as the primary educator, get to determine how to spend your homeschooling time most effectively. For example, if your child is struggling with reading one day, you may decide to focus all your school time on that and save the rest of his subjects for another day.
Some days you’ll get more school done than others, and that’s okay! Use your schedule to focus on what is most valuable to you and your family.
4. Create a minimalist homeschool supplies list.
Do we really need five glue sticks, three boxes of Crayons, and enough construction paper to cover our living room walls? Limit your supplies per student to
- Two sharp pencils
- One Pencil sharpener
- One glue stick
- One box of Crayons
- One pad of construction paper
- One ruler
- One large eraser
- One pair of scissors
- A pencil bag or box to store the supplies.
Limiting your supplies will help keep everything organized and tidy, and you won’t waste time hunting through those “nice but not necessary” items. If there is something specific you need for a project, such as playdough, buy only what you need, not a whole case of 24 different colors—even if it’s on sale!
5. Set a personal minimalist approach.
You don’t need to compare yourself to other homeschoolers. This may be the most difficult tip to follow, but it’s also probably the most important one. You and your children have different values, priorities, and goals than any other family. No two people are exactly alike, and no two homeschools are exactly alike—and they shouldn’t be. Only you know your family’s educational needs, and what works for yours may not work for another’s.
A minimalist approach to homeschooling can help simplify your life so you can more fully enjoy your journey as a family.
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Jennifer is a pastor’s wife and mom of two young girls and loves homeschooling them. During her own twelve years of being homeschooled, Jennifer developed a passion for reading and writing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and relishes writing during her free time.