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Could a more relaxed homeschool be for you? Take a peek behind the scenes of a minimalist, relaxed homeschool and see how this mom of five strikes a simple balance.
This special guest post is part of our homeschooling methods series of interviews.
Today I had the pleasure of talking to relaxed homeschool mom of five, June Doran, a pioneer in the field of minimalist homeschooling.
June says her kids “have an entire adulthood for busy and complicated.” And has consciously decided to step away from the widely-accepted frenzy of rushing from activity to activity in favor of a slower, simplified life.
Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
Do you ever step back from the hustle of daily life and long for something simple? How often do you feel overwhelmed by your to-do, to-go, and to-buy lists? Do you wonder if less might actually be more?
In the following interview, June shares thoughts and advice on creating a relaxed homeschool with minimalist values.
What is relaxed homeschooling?
Relaxed homeschooling uses a variety of educational methods, from the traditional to the creative, to transfer what the homeschool parents believes to be essential knowledge and skills to their children.
Is relaxed homeschooling the same as unschooling?
Relaxed homeschooling is often mistaken for unschooling because it makes a lot of room for interest-led learning. The key difference is that relaxed homeschoolers have things they believe their children should learn, and while they may not use traditional methods to teach those things, they do find ways to help their child learn them. They don’t leave their child’s education entirely up to that child’s interests and motivations.
A Relaxed Homeschool Rhythm
What does your daily rhythm look like?
We all wake up around the same time and the kids watch an educational show after emptying the dishwasher and getting breakfast. If we are doing more “school” type things that day, like reading Story of the World, I try to start that right away (as baby allows).
After we finish, the kids are allowed to pursue their own interests and play together. We have lunch together and sometimes fit in more reading. I try to work in the afternoons and then make dinner. Around 4:30 or 5 o’clock, the kids are allowed to have screentime, without a strict limit, although they will usually choose to go outside to play as soon as their neighbor friends have finished their homework.
How does homeschooling fit in?
I also apply principles from minimalist homeschooling to our homeschool. Lately, that looks like focusing on just one major subject a day.
Mondays are typically life skills – cleaning the house (i.e., doing things you don’t want to do because you need to do them), cooking, and we often fit gameschooling or art lessons in as well. Tuesdays is history, Wednesdays is field trips and general workbooks (“Workbook Wednesdays”), Thursdays is math, and Fridays is language arts.
Striking a Simple Balance
How do you plan for your days and lessons?
We stick to the same basic schedule I mentioned earlier. So much in this season of life is dependent on our baby (currently 4 months old) and my 3.5 year old. I’ve learned to be flexible based on their nap schedules and needs.
We don’t often take breaks from “school”. It’s more a life flow. However, as my oldest grows, we will add in things here and there. For example, I am planning on doing a year of focused grammar work with her next year, but even that will simply be added onto our language arts day.
I don’t currently use a planner. We simply do the next thing (next chapter in history, Life of Fred math, etc.)
If you are intentionally creating a relaxed homeschool, a structured weekly planner might feel overwhelming. Take a look at our easy, no-fuss solution: The Homeschool Portfolio. Simple checklists and journaling for your homeschool record-keeping.
Relaxed Style with Minimalist Values
How does a relaxed homeschool fit in with minimalism?
Whatever homeschool style you eventually land on, I strongly urge you to look into minimalist homeschooling.
Minimalist homeschooling isn’t a homeschool style, but rather a values-based approach to homeschooling that helps you prioritize what you truly need in your homeschool schedule on a seasonal and yearly basis. Just as minimalism helps you filter out the clutter from your home, it can also help you filter our the clutter from your homeschool schedule.
Creating a Relaxed Homeschool
What piece of advice would you share with homeschoolers?
Work hard to break the traditional school mindset that “school” happens only during school hours, or when you’ve decided to intentionally “teach” something. Figure out how to embrace homeschooling as a lifestyle, and realize that your kids are truly learning all the time – day and night. I really believe this is the key to loving homeschooling, and making it for the long haul.
Find out more…
Read more about June’s approach to homeschool, family, and minimalism on her website This Simple Balance.
Are you a new homeschooler? Find answers, advice, and support here.
Ashley helps parents who want to homeschool find the resources they need to successfully teach their children. Ashley is a former teacher, current homeschooler, published author, and designer behind Circle Time with Miss Fox printables as well as the creator of this website, The Homeschool Resource Room.