I used to think that I needed tons of room to homeschool my kids. In fact, when I first started homeschooling them (our eighth year is now coming to an end), I had an entire classroom going. There were multiple shelves, desk-like tables, bulletin boards, a chalkboard and a whiteboard, and all kinds of bright decorative things. But times have changed. I’ve changed. The way we homeschool has changed.
This is homeschooling now. Our supplies are limited to this shelf and a couple of pencil boxes. And it works. Homeschooling is no longer a classroom in our house, and everyone is happier. This change didn’t happen overnight. It took time. It took years of homeschooling for me to finally realize that I didn’t need to recreate public school in my house. After all, public school is what didn’t work with my kids.
Over the past couple of years. I have weeded out a lot of the stuff that cluttered up our school zone. I started to see that “less is more” even carries over into learning. Both of my kids do better when there isn’t a lot stacked up around them. The clutter is an overwhelming distraction to both of them. I also started to see that it doesn’t take tons of books crowding out the space in our house to teach… The fact is, our library is a great resource and it’s free!
We try to hit the library on a weekly basis. The kids get books for their reading enjoyment, and if I need something to supplement our lessons I will get that. We have a library bag that these books live in when they are not being used. That bag is in a place that is easily accessible, but the clutter-free work zone still remains. Oh, and almost all of our schoolwork is done at the kitchen table.
I’m not trying to knock people who have the fancy schoolrooms in their house – that is great… for them. But it just doesn’t work for us any longer. Homeschooling, I’ve realized, isn’t about being like everyone else. It also isn’t about scoring high on tests or getting into college at the age of eleven. Sometimes, I feel like many other homeschoolers are stuck on the overachieving news stories that really are the minority of all learners. The fact is, most kids are just average. When I educate my kids, I don’t educate them thinking they will be the first to cure cancer or create the next great tech gadget. I educate them thinking about how I can impact their lives for Christ, creating compassionate human beings that will fulfill their God-given destinies when the timing is right – His timing, not mine.
And I don’t need a house full of stuff to do that. The stuff isn’t what is educating them.