Minimalist homeschooling is about keeping the things you need and love while getting rid of the rest. It means choosing what's best for your family so you can enjoy the journey. But to do that, you have to stop the More Monster.
The More Monster
There were times while we were homeschooling that I wondered if we were go-schooling. I'm sure you understand that feeling. Classes, clubs, sports, church activities—so many good things to do. But sometimes all those good things mean you don't have time for the best things.
Or maybe your schedule isn't really an issue, but you're still a victim of the More Monster. You begin researching what curriculum and resources you'll use for the next year and it all looks so good. Faintly you start hearing Ariel singing in your head, "I want more..."
You see what your friend is doing and wonder if your family needs to be doing it too. You see that great new curriculum she's discovered and think maybe you should be using it too.
And before you know it, it's simply too much.
Don't Feed the Animal
It is so easy to want to do more and add more. We call it supplementing. And though it may be necessary at times, most often we choose to do more because we are afraid.
- We're afraid we aren’t doing enough.
- We're afraid our kids will have gaps in their education.
- We're afraid some great opportunity will pass us by. (This is also referred to as FOMO—the fear of missing out!)
The More Monster feeds on your fear.
Be bold! Don't let fear determine your schedules or your school load.
How to Stop the More Monster
To be a minimalist homeschooler, you have to do some decluttering. And when it comes to stopping the More Monster, it's time to get rid of too much supplementing.
1. Carefully consider what you will be doing each semester and stick to it. When other opportunities come, when you learn about that great curriculum or resource, when you hear about another excellent class being offered—stop. Don't say yes in the moment. Then move on to #2.
2. Prayerfully think about whether that good thing is the best thing for your homeschool. Ask yourself:
- Does this align with our values and vision for our homeschool?
- Will this resource, curriculum, or activity cause undo stress for my children? For me?
- Do we have the time, money, and resources to commit to doing this activity, class, or curriculum?
- Is it something we could do later and not right away?
- Can I simply adapt something we already have?
3. Fight your fear with TRUTH.
Fear of not doing enough, or being enough. Let me ask you: who defines what enough is anyway? Maybe we need to change our idea about what education is in the first place. Instead of being concerned about doing enough, let's focus on equipping our kids to love God and love others and supporting them with an education to do both well.
And maybe we need to stop striving to be enough and trust that Jesus is.
Fear of educational gaps. Guess what? Your kids will have gaps and that's okay. You don't know everything and you can't teach everything (and the schools don't either!), but you can teach your kids how to learn. You can trust that God will continue to teach them long after you've stopped homeschooling.
Fear of missing out. Remember that every time you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else. So in reality, no matter what you decide you are technically missing out on something. It comes down to deciding what is best for your unique family—not just what is good. If we should be fearful of anything, it's missing out on that which is truly necessary.
Minimalist Homeschooling: Be Bold!
There is no one-size-fits-all type of education. Your school shouldn't look like someone else's. You know your children better than anyone else, and more importantly you have access to the One who uniquely created them.
God chose YOU to be the mother and teacher of your children. He didn’t make a mistake. He knew exactly what they needed—and who they needed.
He equips you to do that which He has called you to do. And all you are asked is to do is be faithful, not to be responsible for the results
Stop adding more and more. Do not fear. Be bold!
Don't miss the other post in our series, Minimalist Homeschooling!
Kay Chance homeschooled her two boys for fifteen years. While teaching them, she discovered a passion for writing and developing curriculum resources. She loves sharing natural learning methods and creative lesson ideas with other homeschooling parents in her column Learning Naturally.
Kay is the co-executive editor of Homeschooling Today magazine, author of the older extensions for the Trail Guide to Learning series, and a freelance writer and content creator. She makes her home in Texas with her husband Brian.