*I have shared pieces of this in different posts, but I want to share it as a focus on minimalist homeschooling in our home. I plan to share this on Pinterest so I wanted it all in one place!*
I did a search for Minimalist Homeschooling on Pinterest this morning, and I realized something very important: Every homeschool looks different, even if you label it minimalist.
Many of the blogs about minimalist homeschooling didn’t seem minimalist to me; they seemed complicated. But maybe some people will say the same about our homeschool. What works for one family won’t work for another.
Curriculum, Books, and Supplies
For me, I need a specific curriculum to use as a guide, and the beauty of the one that we’re using is that it checks the boxes of fine arts, geography, poetry, etc all in one. The lessons are super short each day.
I used to have tons of artist, poet, composer, etc books and we never used them! Now we can check them out from the library or search online for them. I don’t have to own all the things.
I’m trying to use The Good and the Beautiful for some subjects, but I’m also using what I have in my hands. I’m going to try to dig deeper when they are super interested in something or if they are struggling. The beautiful thing is, curriculum is something I teach, not something I buy!
I used to have shelves and shelves full of books and curriculum. Lots of curriculum stressed all of us out, and the kids didn’t read most of the books. They prefer choosing their books from the library. I kept my favorite (and their favorite) classics and good chapter books, novels, and picture books and got rid of the rest!
We have just a few bins and shelves of things. I have a shelf with their curriculum, encyclopedias, and picture books. I have a bin of poetry books, one of older kiddo classics, and four binds of chapter books. We have a shelf with manipulatives and science experiment supplies.
The boys’ binders and journals are in a basket next to their table.
There are two shelves in the closet with things like paint, pens/pencils, crayons, markers, glue, scissors, etc in containers. Ethan and I went through each container and got rid of crayons and markers and glue that were broken or dried out.
As someone trying to keep things simple and teaching from rest, I have decided to create a routine for my boys instead of a schedule. As long as they complete everything on their routine, I’m happy! And they are happy to have some structure without stress. This is truly rest for them.
The school room is actually my office. I just added a table and took all of the books out of the attic and put them back into this room. I kept everything the same. It’s a very cozy and restful place to be, and I want that for the boys as well. There’s a comfy chair in the corner, a diffuser always going, candles lit, lamp light and Christmas lights, beautiful things on the walls, and a simple white board for the boys to use. There are two windows with beautiful curtains that we either keep closed or open based on our moods.
Ethan placed coffee cups for each of them on their table with pencils, pens, dry erase markers, etc on it. There’s a candle in the middle.
The Heart of Our Homeschool (as a Minimalist Homeschooler)
Right now I’m listening to Teaching from Rest again and it’s so so good. It’s a reminder to take a deep breath and trust God with our homeschool.
In the past when I listened to it, I always had the “but…” or “what if…” thoughts in my head. I am truly experiencing and taking in what she’s saying this time.
Some focuses in the heart of our homeschool:
Relaxed homeschooling. Taking lots of deep breaths. Using essential oils. Drinking hot tea. Yoga. Outdoors. Enjoying each thing that we do as much as we can. Truly teaching from rest.
Frugal homeschooling. Using free things as much as possible. Buying used whenever I can. Using the library and the internet. Using what we already have. Today I made some notebooks for science and nature studies. I am using free pdf’s and bought used things from my friend. These are just some examples.
We will be doing read alouds, Poetry Teatime, Free-writes, Nature studies, Reading Response, etc regularly. The boys will get to choose which books they read independently instead of me assigning them books because I want them to enjoy reading. I’m okay with them reading graphic novels, silly books, etc. I am not stuck on them reading only classics or anything of the sort. I will introduce the classics eventually; in the meantime, I want them to think of reading as a joy. Many of the books in our library are really good books.
My plans are just a typed chart of what we will do each day. It’s super simple!
I hang it on the marker board behind my desk!
Since we’re just getting started, I expect things to change over time. As I feel like things aren’t working, I will make adjustments. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. I hope you’ll follow along on our journey!