I never would have thought of us as minimalist homeschoolers. We’ve enjoyed a relaxed approach to homeschooling, but are we really minimalists? The answer is an absolute yes, but its not because we live small in an RV. You can find minimalism in different areas of life, and I’m going to share with you how it’s helped us in our homeschool.
Our minimalist homeschool vision
Over the past few years in our relaxed homeschool, I have been trying to find ways to cut back. What we were doing didn’t fit with our lifestyle and it was leaving me stressed and the kids unhappy.
Knowing your “why” behind your homeschool is something I’ve brought up to others, but knew it was time for me to revisit my own “why”.
Why am I homeschooling my kids? What do I want them to get out of it? HOW do I want to move forward to accomplish these things?
For us, a big part of our homeschool vision is to be able to be flexible and allow for outside learning to happen as much as possible. If this means ditching curriculum for days at a time because there are real world learning experiences that are happening instead, then we will do that.
That’s when it hit me that minimalism is a big part of our homeschool. Because although we have curriculum we love, and books that we get lost in, having less means having more.
Here are three ways we bring minimalism into our homeschool.
1. Minimalism brings less chaos
As I just mentioned, we will sometimes skip our formal lessons for real world lessons. When this happened in years past, I felt immense pressure to still get it all done.
To go on field trips. To take camping trips as a family. To meet with our park day group, go to outside lessons, and to get all the curriculum done. I mean all of it. We wouldn’t skip a single lesson in our books.
It. Was. Exhausting.
After many conversations with a few friends, many of whom had kids in public school previously, I was told that children in schools typically only finish about 1/2 – 2/3 of the lessons in their books. That’s it. Across all subjects. The rest simply can’t be done because there’s not enough time. The teachers pick and choose what needs to be taught, and the rest gets tossed aside.
Guys, we were doing 100% of our curriculum along with our outside studies. It was too much!
Once I freed myself from the fallacy that it *all* needed to get done, we had a major homeschooling shift. I realized that minimalist homeschooling meant that we didn’t have to have that chaos in our lives and that we needed to start counting those outside lessons as school hours.
I no longer felt the pressure to finish all of the work just because there were lessons in our books because our kids were getting so many other lessons you can’t find in a text book. They were having more time for *real* books, real world lessons, and so much we couldn’t find within our four walls.
2. Minimalism brings less stuff
We recently moved into our RV. We plan to travel full time in the future and the timing seemed perfect to just be in this space stationary for now. Although we did get rid of a lot, we didn’t sell all of our worldly possessions. We have a nice storage unit with a lot of our things tucked away.
However, this did force us to only bring so much with us and to really choose those things wisely. Other than a few select toys my boys chose to pack away (literally two things- Beyblades and Pokemon cards. Guys, I have a feeling we’re going to be buying more super soon yo make up for this) we haven’t missed anything in our storage unit.
This means we also downsized our homeschooling materials. I only brought the books we use everyday and the manipulatives we can’t live without. We had a huge cabinet of homeschool supplies in our house and now we have two small shelves. I’ve come to find that this is all we truly need.
The library and the internet are fabulous resources. Being mindful of what we can bring into our space has made it easier on all of us to focus on the work at hand when we do school work and not get distracted my the many distractions our house brought. We check out books when we need them, utilize e-books frequently, and we haven’t missed our huge cabinet of resources at all.
3. Minimalism gives us more time
My husband and I both noticed how our time spent doing different things has definitely shifted since living small. We now have much more time to enjoy each other. We read together more. We go to the beach more. We have more time to play with the kids.
The same thing is true in our homeschool. We have more time to look into the studies that we love because we’ve given ourselves the freedom to not feel bound by curriculum. We use our curriculum as a tool, not as a requirement.
Since embracing a minimalist homeschool, we’ve been able to make looking for sharks teeth and classifying them a part of our science lessons. We’ve been able to find books on art and read about famous artists and their lives. We’ve been able to take more field trips and learn about the world around us.
Having time to focus on our children’s interests and dive into the many questions they bring up is something that I’m so grateful to be able to do now.
One area I will never accept minimalism
If you haven’t caught on yet, we love getting out and doing it all. We do make sure to take time off and stay home, but we’re happiest when we’re out exploring and learning new things.
This is where I will never bring minimalism.
I won’t minimize our time outside. I won’t cut back on our field trips. I will continue to plan trips until we are living the dream of traveling full time. And we will always make time for spending quality time with friends and with each other.
Finding our Minimalist Homeschool
Finding a minimalist homeschool was a treasure I didn’t even know I was seeking. It has given us a new appreciation for life and this homeschooling journey we’re on.
Do you have a minimalist homeschool? Share what that means for you in the comments or in my online homeschool community.