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5 Strategies for Simplifying Your Homeschooling Routine

Homeschooling can be magical, beautiful, and, academically speaking, incredibly powerful for parents and children. This is a safe space. We can be honest here. It’s also incredibly hard. Like really hard. It can be overwhelming and stressful, especially when you're juggling multiple subjects, lesson plans, classes, and then, you know…your life. Homeschooling moms are superheroes. But it takes a toll. That's why simplifying your homeschooling routine and embracing minimalist homeschooling can be life-changing. In this article, we'll explore 5 easy strategies for simplifying your homeschooling routine with a focus on minimalist homeschooling.

Strategy #1: Create a Rhythm, Not a Schedule


Schedules can be a huge source of conflict for many homeschoolers. Doing the same thing in the same order at the same time of day so often triggers the need to “push back” in our creative kids. Trying to stick to a schedule can end up sucking more of your time than the actual activities you have planned. Instead, create a rhythm to guide your homeschool. 


A rhythm is a flow or pattern to your day that is based on your family's natural rhythms and routines. Rather than assigning specific times for each activity, a rhythm focuses on the order and flow of your day. This allows you to adjust your activities as needed without disrupting the entire day.


One of the key benefits of using a rhythm instead of a schedule is the flexibility it offers. With a rhythm, you can adjust your activities to fit your family's needs, whether that means taking a break when your child needs it, or shifting activities around to accommodate unexpected events. This flexibility can help reduce stress and create a more peaceful and magical homeschooling experience for both you and your learner. Rhythms allow for more spontaneous activities and adventures, too. Spontaneity is a big part of what makes minimalist homeschooling so special. 


So what does a rhythm look like? Check out this example.


MorningStart the day with breakfast and quiet time, followed by a morning meeting to discuss the day's plans and goals.


Late MorningBegin a lesson in a core subject like math or language arts.

Afternoon: Take a break for lunch and outdoor time. After lunch, continue with another core subject or project-based learning activity.


Early EveningEnd the day with a read-aloud or independent reading time, followed by free play or relaxation time.


Compare this with a typical schedule you might find in a more traditional educational setting.


7:30am-8:00am: Breakfast and quiet time

8:00am-8:30am: Morning meeting

8:30am-10:00am: Math lesson

10:00am-10:30am: Snack break

10:30am-12:00pm: Language arts lesson

12:00pm-1:00pm: Lunch break

1:00pm-2:30pm: Science lesson or project-based learning activity

2:30pm-3:00pm: Outdoor time

3:00pm-4:30pm: Social studies lesson or additional project-based learning activity

4:30pm-5:00pm: Reading time or read-aloud

5:00pm-6:00pm: Free play or relaxation time


As you can see, this rhythm focuses on the flow and order of the day rather than assigning specific times for each activity. This allows for more flexibility and spontaneity, while still providing structure and routine to the day. Schedules are great if you’re the type of person who thrives on predictability, but if you’re anything like me, as soon as something runs a little bit over or goes a little bit quicker than expected and the schedule is off, it totally ruins my day. I get stuck in this loop of feeling like I’m running out of time, and that weighs heavily on me in the form of stress and anxiety. 


A big part of why our minimalist style of homeschooling works is the rhythm. 


Before I forget, I also want to mention that It's super important to involve your child in the process of designing your rhythm. Ask for their input and give them options about when they think they work best and what subjects they enjoy the most. This will help them feel more invested in the schedule and more motivated to stick to it. It also gives you the added benefit of letting your learner take ownership of their day, rather than attributing every they have to do, to you, the parent.

Strategy #2: Organize Your Homeschool Space


A cluttered and disorganized homeschool space can make it difficult to focus and be productive. The same principles of minimalism in the home apply to minimalism in homeschooling. Simplifying and organizing your homeschool space is crucial to making your life easier, more peaceful, more magical. 


Start by decluttering your space and getting rid of any unnecessary materials. You know the ones. The 5,000 manipulatives, the books you can’t wait to read but haven’t actually opened yet. The 2.5 billion pens and colored pencils (or is that just me?). Be brutal about your editing. You only need a few simple materials to homeschool. Everything else just takes time to clean and sucks away your attention during the day. Once you’ve edited down your space, organize your remaining materials in a way that makes sense for your family. This could mean using storage bins, shelves, or a filing system. 


After years of trial and error, I finally found the PERFECT system for my family. I’m very proud of it. A post on that is going to come soon. In the meantime, focus on exploring what works for you and your learner. 


It's also important to involve your child in the organization process. Teach them how to clean up after themselves and where to find materials they need. This will not only help them become more responsible but also reduce the stress of the mental load for you.


Strategy #3: Focus On Essential Subjects


Trying to cover every subject every day can be overwhelming and unrealistic. That's why it's important to focus on essential subjects that are necessary for your child's academic success and development.


Essential subjects typically include math, language arts, science, and geography. However, it's important to prioritize based on your child's needs and interests. For example, if your child struggles with reading comprehension, you may want to devote a little more time to reading and language arts. 


The Story Weavers curriculum combines reading comprehension with all the subjects they cover. Every lesson does double (sometimes triple) duty to pack in the essential subjects and stack important skill builders over fun activities and interesting deep dives. That’s why we use it in our homeschool.


This doesn't mean you have to completely neglect non-essential subjects. Instead, you can incorporate them in a simplified way. For example, you could have a dedicated day of the week for art projects or incorporate physical education into your outdoor time. 


Look for ways to double up and hit more than one subject at a time. Combine art and music with language arts (like in The Story Weavers) or reading with science by loading up a cool YouTube video and turning on the subtitles. Get creative, and find simpler more efficient ways to get those subjects in.

Strategy #4: Use Minimalist Homeschooling Resources


Using minimalist homeschooling resources can be a great way to simplify your homeschooling routine. These resources typically focus on the essentials and are designed to be easy to use and implement.


Obviously, we use The Story Weavers, but there are other materials out there.


When choosing minimalist homeschooling resources, look for materials that align with your child's needs and learning style. Also, make sure they are age-appropriate and align with your educational goals.


Strategy #5: Embrace child-led learning


Child-led learning is a powerful way to simplify your homeschooling routine and add some serious power to your child's education. This approach allows your child to take ownership of their learning and pursue their interests and passions.


To incorporate child-led learning into your homeschooling routine, start by allowing your child to choose the subjects and projects they want to work on. This could mean letting them choose their own books to read, topics to research, or experiments to conduct.


You can also incorporate child-led learning into your essential subjects. For example, instead of following a rigid math curriculum, allow your child to explore math concepts through real-life situations or games that they enjoy.


Child-led learning doesn't mean abandoning structure and guidance altogether. It's important to provide a framework and set boundaries that will help your child stay on track and achieve their educational goals.


Work with your child to create a learning plan that includes both their interests and your educational goals. This plan can include deadlines, benchmarks, and progress check-ins to ensure that your child is making progress towards their goals. These types of executive functioning skills are super important and can be introduced early. Giving that power over to your child will serve them for years and it perfectly supports the need for simplicity in a minimalist homeschool environment.


Conclusion

Simplifying your homeschooling routine can be a huge step forward for both you and your child. By implementing these 5 easy strategies, you can create a more peaceful, enjoyable, and effective homeschooling experience for everyone involved. Remember to prioritize the essentials, use minimalist resources, and embrace child-led learning to make the most of your homeschooling journey. And don’t forget to keep hold of the magic.



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