(The following is a post from Rebecca Lundgren, Junior High teacher at True North Homeschool Academy.)
I received the book Minimalist Homeschooling: A Values-Based Approach to Maximize Learning and Minimizing Stress from the author, Zara Fagan Ph.D., at a homeschooling convention. Minimalism is no longer a noun or adjective; it has become a culture. There are books, blogs, websites, and classes that you can take on becoming minimalist. There is not a minimal amount of information for something that is supposed to make your life easier.
So, what is minimalist homeschooling?
Dr. Fagan also has a free e-book you can get from registering at her site. (You can find that here.) Minimalist homeschooling is about focusing on the educational values you want to see in your children, and yourself. Not in the facts and accomplishments, or whatever your homeschooling friends are doing.
When glancing through the book, I thought, “OK, a quick, simple book. I can read it and add it to my minimalism shelf.” Yes, I have a section of books in my home on cleaning and organizing. I have lots of books, so many I am often losing them. Yes, it is counterproductive, and I admit I have a book problem.
This book, while giving you ideas on how to get rid of clutter, did not help with that. Instead, I found a book that inspired me, has led to a lot of deep self-evaluation and really helped me change how I am homeschooling my children. This book will not end up on my cleaning and organizing shelf. This book will stay on my nightstand. That is where I keep the books that remind me why I am on this journey. These are the books that help me get back to the basics. Minimalist Homeschooling is one of those books that will encourage me on the days when I feel overwhelmed, and I am wondering what I need to change.
What did I love about Minimalist Homeschooling?
My personal favorite chapter is the fifth one. Dr. Fagan makes an interesting suggestion to homeschooling parents. She encourages you to read the chapter before you go searching, even just browsing, for homeschool curriculum. I wish I had known this information when leaving public school. I wanted to do it all. I was trying to fit into what I thought homeschooling looked (or should) look like rather than assessing my family’s needs and how my children learn. The result is an overwhelming amount of curriculum that isn’t working for us. Workbooks that my children don’t want to do, and really won’t anyway because we don’t have time for them.
I really appreciated the author’s reflection questions. As a result, I have begun to get rid of the things we no longer need or that no longer fit my children’s learning style. She points out that unused curriculum can lead to a sense of failure, and in my experience, I have certainly found that to be true. Right now, I have piles of curriculum that I am selling and donating. My “I could still use that someday” books are finding new homes with others that need them right now. I am beginning to look at my shelves and feel like I am doing enough in a day…not every day, but certainly on more of them. It has led to less stress and more intentionality. It is still summer though…ask me how I am feeling in February.
You can find more about Zara Fagen Ph.D. at http://www.zaraphd.com/.
(If you enjoyed this post, you might also love our review of Practical Proverbs!)
I received a free copy of this product through True North Homeschool Academy in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.
Rebecca Lundgren lives in South Dakota with her husband Jeremy, three daughters, and their zoo of adopted animals. While her family never intended to homeschool, she has learned a lot along the way. Her background includes a B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from South Dakota State University. Before she began her homeschool journey, she taught in Public Schools k-12, English as a Second Language (ESL) k-6, and directed an Early Childhood program. Since she began homeschooling, she has been involved with working in and then directing homeschooling groups in her area and now teaches ESL online. She loves camping and hiking with her family, reading, crafting, and children’s ministries.
Mrs. Lundgren is one of our fabulous Junior High teachers at True North Homeschool Academy.