Asalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies
Today I wanted to share a tip with you that has literally transformed our homeschooling experience.
I’m sure many of you can relate to having spent two hours (you had originally planned one) getting carried away with an art project or read aloud. You and the kids felt great after a fun school day. But then you’re greeted by a sink full of dishes, toys scattered everywhere by your two-year-old (that’s his ‘school work’ of course), and it’s almost 4pm and you haven’t even started on dinner.
Your heart sinks…..you just spent all evening cleaning yesterday, surely it shouldn’t get this bad so quickly??? So you print off a meal planner, another morning and evening cleaning routine and off you go again only to realise it hasn’t really freed up much time but on the contrary, made you feel more bound to a schedule rather than enjoying those precious moments where learning really comes to life.
Step in minimalism.
Stop right there I hear you say…I homeschool, I need books, desks, posters, playdough in all colours, not to mention all the pretty wooden Montessori puzzles I can get my hands on!!!!!
Well, let me tell you ladies, no you don’t. I made the fatal mistake of feeling I needed to build a typical school in my home to make sure we were equipped for our homeschooling journey. I covered my walls with posters about the periodic table and solar system, bought endless puzzles, hoarded cereal boxes, plastic bottles and toilet rolls just in case I needed it for a project..only to find out I was getting stressed. Our Happy Muslim Homeschool was getting overwhelming and it started to lose the joy it once had because however much I convinced myself the mess was worth it, that didn’t wash the dishes–I was still left to face the aftermath.
So after a while of testing organisation systems and buying more plastic boxes to give things a home, I realised it wasn’t a case of better organisation..but we just had far too much stuff! So, I decided to take a few days off school and one by one I tackled each room getting rid of everything we didn’t need. I remember reading the Kon Mari book some time ago, but to be honest I didn’t even want to think about what sparked joy or not- I just wanted it gone! I got rid of clothes, shoes, cutlery, toys, and books. SubhanAllah it shocked me just how much we had accumulated. 8 bags full, I still wasn’t satisfied.
Then it dawned on me. I didn’t just want fewer things, I wanted visual clarity. All the unnecessary posters my kids don’t even read, the morning and evening reward chart that’s used on and off, all of these things were also clutter. I took down everything we didn’t use, and only kept hold of the things we use on a daily basis.
Alhamdulillah, I felt relieved. Our space became more inviting, clear, simple and calming. It’s not to say our home is spotless, but pickup is much faster and now that we have fewer things even when school overtakes I’m not greeted by a mountain of chores.
And have we survived without all the extra school supplies?
Yes!!!! When you keep only that which you need it is more than enough. My three-year-old hasn’t even noticed things are missing because I kept those few things he loves and enjoys, alhamdulillah someone else can benefit more from the things we just kept for no reason. The truth is, you don’t need all the extracurricular, and thousands of puzzles to teach your children. You need to give them attention, presence over presents. Sometimes our children learn more in a conversation than they do with a craft we spend days planning. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have school supplies, but let them work for you, not you work for them!
So ladies, if you can relate to anything I have said, get the cardboard boxes out and get ready to donate, you will feel much better inshaAllah!