Minimalist Homeschooling

Minimalist Homeschooling

Last spring, I gingerly searched Pinterest with the keywords “homeschool organization.” Hundreds of blog posts popped up with thousands of tips, links to printables, cutouts, Ikea products, wall decor, etc., etc. It was enough to make me want to cry in the corner with a pint of ice cream. I knew I could handle the actual teaching part of homeschooling a kindergartner, but all of the organizing and decorating, cute calendars and fun projects?

It made me dread starting what I had planned on doing ever since…ever.

I grew up in a homeschooling family. We lived in a very rural area of Kansas and it would have taken my parents a couple of hours a day to get us to and from school. Instead, my mom chose to teach us all (eight siblings!) at home, in our 1,500 square foot house. I don’t remember many of the details of our daily school life, but I do remember that our “school room” looked different from what I see on Pinterest today. We had books we passed down to each other,

Last spring, I gingerly searched Pinterest with the keywords “homeschool organization.” Hundreds of blog posts popped up with thousands of tips, links to printables, cutouts, Ikea products, wall decor, etc., etc. It was enough to make me want to cry in the corner with a pint of ice cream. I knew I could handle the actual teaching part of homeschooling a kindergartner, but all of the organizing and decorating, cute calendars and fun projects?

It was a great upbringing and I wanted it to be an integral part of my kids’ education and self discipline training, just like my mom’s had been for me.

I spent a few months agonizing over a list of “necessities” and lamenting the conversion of my newly remodeled shiplap and wood floored dining room turning into a primary colored forest of alphabet letters and uncharacteristically friendly jungle animals. The unexpectedly complicated birth of #4 left me with little time to set up everything I had planned and we went into the school year our curriculum, a repurposed entertainment center and small bookshelf, a globe, a vase of pencils, glue sticks and scissors. Besides the addition of a bench and a binder to keep records, we are getting along with what we have! Our school day runs along just fine without daily weather recording (this Storm app is more reliable and scientifically accurate anyway), behavioral charts, and organizing systems. I am thankful to be able to multipurpose a room and still keep it beautiful and uncluttered when school hours are over, and there is small enough clean up that my kids can do it alone if I ask.

I am well aware that this post could strike the nerves of other homeschooling parents who do choose to have “all the things,” so I’d like to clarify that having a defined school room is on my bucket list for our home. I’d love to have a space dedicated to just teaching, where we can plaster anything we are learning about to the walls, store boxes of markers, crayons, craft supplies, and maybe even have a few primary colored posters up as well. I’d like to have desks instead of using the dining room table, a computer station for me to work at while I check papers, and ceiling-to-floor bookcases for little hands to grab at any time. But I know if I had waited for that dream, we would not have started this year.

Our home is wonderful and we chose it because we loved it, and we have filled it with children purposefully, but those decisions come with a lack of space that demands being creative and thoughtful to not be overrun by one area of our life. Since I spend 90% of my day in our house, I would rather it be a space that is as clutter free and as least jarring to my visual senses as possible. I wanted to be able to have company over to eat in our dining room without “school stuff” on every wall. I wanted to be able to live with and teach my kids without resenting our choice to teach at home because my decorating is overrun with the alphabet.

All of this to say, if homeschooling seems daunting because of the details, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. As long as you are able to invest the time and training into the school work, the rest of the paraphernalia that follows is just a bonus. Minimalist-style homeschool doesn’t mean you aren’t learning, it just means you may need to get more creative with the learning process!

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