Your home education set up can be as unique as your family. If the thought of a house full of sensory resources and craft equipment (glitter, anyone?) fills you with dread, never fear. It needn’t be that way! Whilst it’s a great idea to allow kids to get creative and messy, it needn’t fill the whole house. It is quite possible to home educate whilst maintaining a minimalist household.
Nine ways to practice minimalist home education:
- Toy library or Toy subscription service (such as Whirli)
Toy libraries are fantastic ways of allowing your child to have a variety of toys available to them, just not all at the same time. The added bonus is that they’re usually very cheap or sometimes even free to use. Whirli is a fantastic company offering a huge selection of toys and learning resources for hire, delivered straight to your doorstep. You keep them for as long as you like and swap whenever you fancy.
- Enrol your children in art classes
Embrace the chaos, just not inside the house. We’ve all been there, finding glitter in the carpet two weeks since making the Christmas cards. Art is really important and our kids need to be able to get their creative juices flowing, so see if you can enrol in art classes, or for little ones, classes with sensory play (so you don’t need to be clearing up rainbow rice for the next five years).
- Rotating toys based on interests and/or topics
Children can become easily overwhelmed when faced with too much clutter. They can struggle to actually engage with a toy if they have too many options. If you have some good spaces to store boxes out of the main living areas (garage or attic?) then it can be really helpful to rotate their toys and resources, so they can focus more on the choices that are available to them. You may also see a renewed appreciation for those toys that come out of storage after a month or so. Some people have a topic table where they only have resources out for the topic they’re studying at the time, and some like to rotate their continuous provision every so often.
- Sharing toys and resources with other families
Once you’ve finished with something, pass it on to another family. Or start a swaps post on your local Home Education Facebook group (always a good idea to ask admin first as they sometimes have a dedicated buy/sell/swaps post).
We all love an Ikea Kallax, the hero of home education storage. In fact, Ikea has a plethora of products which can help keep your house in order whilst home educating. Search Pinterest for ‘Ikea Homeschool Storage’ and clear your diary for the rest of the day!
If you’re a regular on Instagram you’ll have seen the most beautiful educational set ups, with expensive wooden toys, extensive resources for each topic covered and daily, intricate invitations to play. All of these things are lovely, but please know that it is not necessary to have all these resources. So many educational play experiences can be achieved with household items, things you already have in the house, or outside of the home at groups and classes.
It’s true, there’s nothing like holding a paper book in your hand, but many families are happily switching over to tablets such as the Kindle Paperwhite for reading. There are also hundreds of educational apps for many subjects, such as the highly acclaimed Reading Eggs. This year has seen a huge increase in distance learning, and companies such as ‘Outschool’ are booming (on Outschool you can enrol your child in a live online class for almost any topic you can think of!).
- Have a dedicated home education space
Having a room where you can leave the mess and close the door, can help to preserve your inner peace. Some of us don’t have this option of course, so maybe keeping one living area ‘toy free’ is a good substitute here.
Most home educating families recognise the importance of being outdoors in nature and the benefits that can have on the physical and mental health of our children and ourselves. Of course, the less time you spend in the house, the less mess the children can make! There are so many options for learning outside of the home, from workshops at museums, visits to attractions, social meet ups, tutoring sessions and playdates. You can connect on social media with other home educators in your area (Facebook seems most active) and arrange educational visits to interesting places near you.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the amount of stuff in your home, you could involve your child in the clearing out process. Some children will enjoy choosing toys to gift to others or take to the charity shop. Or maybe they would like to sell their unwanted toys on Facebook marketplace and save up the money that they make for a special day out or a voucher.
If you don’t think your child would cope with this strategy, experiment with packing toys away in boxes out of sight. If they haven’t been missed in a month, you could find them a new home.
If you have any other minimalism tips, please share them below!