Asalamu’alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies,
If you’re reading this post, it’s very likely that at some point in your homeschooling journey, you have felt overwhelmed and burnt out.
Overwhelmed by tonnes of curricula.
paperwork and printables.
overspilling laundry baskets.
The list can go on.
And I’m not surprised. And neither should you be (so chin up!).
It’s not that you are incapable, you’re doing it wrong, or that it’s just a clause that as a homeschool mother you need to just accept living in utter chaos.
NOT AT ALL.
In my years as a homeschool mother of four, I noticed a huge link missing in many homeschool books and blogs. And it was the bridge between taking on homeschooling and the home itself. There’s a tonne of information about what homeschooling is, but it becomes so much about you as a mother giving up more and more of your time without much info about what you need to do to make space for all these changes.
See, although I had really young children, the state of my home seemed to mimic that of having daily dinner parties. So much mess in the kitchen!!!!!
And then I began homeschooling, and that mess only got worse. It was no longer just the dishes. It was the curricula, the books, the free printables that looked to pretty not to print and so forth. I’m not ashamed to say that my start journey into homeschooling left me constantly battling between the stacks of books and stacks of dishes, and so I knew that things had to change.
And here’s where minimalism came in. Now I know that people can take the concept of minimalism to an extreme and so when you hear the word it might bring up an image of living in a home with white walls and no furniture and even deprivation. But as Muslims, we avoid going to extremes and so are mindful that it isn’t something that deprives us and our family of the favours Allah has bestowed upon us.
So what is minimalism (in the actual sense)?
In a nutshell, minimalism is the opposite of consumerism. It’s simply getting rid of things you don’t really need, leaving an uncluttered, simple environment that helps you to then live an uncluttered more simple life.
It’s being mindful of the things you purchase so you don’t accumulate things in excess.
It’s simplifying things at home so you can actually use your home for its purpose.
It’s being able to find things easily in your home.
It’s being able to use your home fully, without having to take several hours to get it back in order.
It’s so much more than bare white spaces.
So how does this relate to homeschooling?
Well, when mothers start homeschooling, the temptation to accumulate things is HIGH! And I’m not just talking about purchasing things here either, some of us might have smaller budgets for our homeschool yet can still feel they are drowning in resources. There’s a sense of going into the unknown, and so we can easily fall into the trap of combating this fear by buying more. There’s an underlying pressure to do all the things, to fill up your time because gaps mean you’re not doing enough, and overall this idea that a fulfilling homeschool means a full schedule.
Because each curriculum seems to be more comprehensive than the last.
Each manipulative seems fun and educational.
Each printable seems prettier than the ones you already have.
Each deal you see seems too good to pass.
But it isn’t just restricted to the things either. It’s also the ideas that come along with homeschooling. You know, the morning baskets, poetry tea time, read alouds every day, etc. Which are all great ideas. But when you have multiple kids, and as a Muslim homeschool mother want to make sufficient time for other things not mentioned in mainstream books like Qur’an hifdh, revision and Islamic studies, it can be daunting to fit everything in.
And before you know it, it piles up. And up. And up.
And so you’re energy goes onto constantly organising and reorganising the things you’ve added to an already full space. Trying new things only for them not to stick. Wanting to inject fun ideas only to find they don’t make homeschooling that much fun for YOU or the kids!
In the end, you might not even use half of those free printables – though you invested time finding them.
You might spend more time planning than actually enjoying teaching your children.
Your house might feel like it’s bursting at the seams – though you assumed those purchases would make things easier.
The overcluttered homeschool leaves you and your kids stressed because you’ve overcompensated.
The morning basket might be filled with books you don’t end up reading and so the guilt kicks in.
Because the same way that buying too much cutlery clogs up your kitchen cupboard, the same way too much curricula can clog up your child’s education.
And that’s why being mindful of what we actually buy, teach and fill our children’s time with is important. Because buying too much can actually be the reason why our child’s education can be left unfulfilling. It’s also important to make those careful choices so we can actually enjoy the whole process, and give our children a customised education that is clearly defined and not bogged down with all the unnecessary add-ons that take up time spent as a family. And that we as a mother can still have time to be just a mother, and not feel obliged to be in teacher mode all the time which brings in feelings of guilt and even resentment.
Being mindful of the choices we make in our homeschool goes beyond being mindful of what we add to our Amazon cart. It can transform our entire homeschool experience insha’Allah.
Before I leave you if you’re ready to break the cycle of being a burnt-out homeschool mother, join me on the upcoming eight-week course where we will practically make changes to YOUR homeschool from week ONE. We’ve had new homeschool mothers, as well as seasoned homeschoolers, take the course and it has transformed their homeschool allahuma barik.
Because this is a homeschool course that doesn’t focus on telling you what homeschooling is, it gives you the tools to homeschool effectively for the long run.