What exactly is minimalist homeschooling anyway? Read this to figure it out and get started.

What is Minimalist Homeschooling?

What is Minimalist Homeschooling anyway?

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Are you familiar with minimalism?  It’s the hot trend sweeping the world, where people live happier, more content lives with less.  So, what is minimalist homeschooling?

Minimalism embraces a simplified, uncluttered life.  Minimalist Homeschooling embraces a simplified, uncluttered education.

Minimalism is all about ignoring mass consumerism in our “have it all” society.  Minimalist Homeschooling is all about ignoring the “do it all” mentality rampant in homeschooling communities.

Minimalism encourages people to evaluate what is most important – what is truly necessary or sparks joy.  Minimalist homeschooling encourages educators to evaluate what is necessary and sparks joy in their child’s education.


It sounds simple enough, right?  In fact, it sounds a lot like what we all want for our children: We want to teach them everything they need to know, and nurture a love of learning and a love for specific subjects.

If it’s that simple, why is it so HARD to do it?

Well, there are a lot of answers to that question (in fact, I wrote a whole book about it).  But, if I had to pick the biggest reason that we struggle with simplifying our homeschool, it would be that we have not embraced the minimalist homeschooling mindset.

Minimalist Homeschool


There was a time not long ago when I struggled with homeschooling.  I was always busy, but rarely satisfied with what we accomplished.  I was frustrated by the end of almost every day.  I tried different schedules, different planners, different checklists, different curricula, different homeschool spaces… but what I really needed was a different mindset.

Hence, the reason I started this series of posts.  For the entire 36-week school year, each week I will discuss the finer points of a minimalist homeschooling mindset: What that actually means, and how life looks through minimalist homeschooling glasses.

Minimalist homeschooling says “Less is better.”

The minimalist homeschooling mindset says that less is better.  This concept is very difficult for many of us who have spent our entire lives believing that more is better.

When it comes to education, we want to give our children the world – we want to offer them everything.  We believe that giving our children everything we possibly can is a gift, and many times, a loving sacrifice.  More is better.

Or so we think.

In reality, there are a lot of child psychology experts who disagree with the “more is better” principle.  People like Kim John Payne, in Simplicity Parenting, who strongly advises against giving our children more for so many reasons that he wrote an entire book on the subject.  Or, Charlotte Mason, who advises educators not to give children too many decisions; to create habits so that the child can act without making conscious decisions every time.  In her philosophy, decisions can be stressful, or exhausting.  Decision fatigue is a thing.

The fact is, “more” can be suffocating, paralyzing, intimidating, and overwhelming.  Do any of those adjectives describe how your homeschool feels sometimes?  If so, you are likely suffering from too much.

In addition to believing that more is better, we often crave the security of “extra.”  Again, this is a mindset that we grew up with – believing that “extra” offers security “just in case.”  In reality, “extra” demands extra space, extra time, extra money, and extra energy.

Nobody can afford all that extra!

In homeschooling, we want extra books just in case there is time.

Extra subjects just in case our child needs them.

Extra workbooks just in case our child doesn’t grasp a concept.

Extra school work just in case we haven’t done enough.




Then, the worst part is that “extra” is never enough.  When we are stuck in the traditional mindset of “extra” and “more,” enough is an unattainable goal.  There will always be more that we can do, could do, would do, or should do.  Always.

Do you see how trying to do it all sets up a homeschool for a sense of failure?  Doing it all is simply impossible.

In contrast, minimalist homeschooling says you can do the most important things; and you can do them really, really well.

> Read More about Doing What You Love (because minimalist homeschooling is about so much more than purging books)

Read More about Being Awesome, and NOT being it ALL.

What is minimalist homeschooling? Introduction to finding out more about the minimalist homeschooling craze.

Doing important things really well is even better than enough.  Doing important things really well is SUCCESS!

The minimalist homeschooling mindset addresses the insecurity and doubt that underlies our desire for “extra.”  The minimalist homeschooling mindset requires homeschoolers to consider what is truly needed and loved.  (We will talk more about this in the next post.)

It’s time for self-reflection:

What do “more” and “extra” mean to you?

What do you feel when you think about having “less” or “just enough?”

What is holding you back from being minimalist in your life and homeschool?

How can you turn around those thoughts to see the benefit of “less,” and “enough?”

What do you want to achieve with a minimal homeschool?  How will it feel?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  The minimalist mindset sounds easy enough… but if it were actually easy, more of us would be confident with our meaningful, calm, successful, focused homeschool, right?  We can help each other see the beauty of less by sharing our own perspectives and struggles.  One person’s revelation can entirely change another’s perspective.

The fact is, being minimalist is a journey.  It takes time to adapt and apply a new mindset.  It is a gradual transition; and oftentimes it can be difficult to get past the mindset that is already ingrained.

If you’re ready to take this journey, you have come to the right place.  Each week, for the entire 36-week school year, I will be unpacking a small portion of the minimalist homeschooling mindset.  These posts will be based on the “Minimalist Homeschool Mindset Hacks” in the book Minimalist Homeschooling.  While the book is a how-to guide to an uncluttered education, with worksheets to plan your school and put minimalist homeschooling into action, these posts on this website will go further into how to embrace the philosophy of minimalist homeschooling.

Support is a great way to ensure success.  Join us on facebook, or pinterest, and be sure to sign-up for the newsletter so that this minimalist homeschooling series will come straight to your inbox throughout the entire school year.

I’m so glad you’re here.  I’m looking forward to a great year!

Wishing you all the simple things,

Read the next post in the series: Do what You Love… because minimalist homeschooling is about so much more than purging books.

“What is Minimalist Homeschooling” is an introduction to the minimalist homeschooling philosophy.  You’ll find many posts on this blog devoted to explaining and encouraging minimalist homeschooling.  If you’re interested in implementing this mindset, grab a mug and stay a while!


10 thoughts on “What is Minimalist Homeschooling?

  1. Debi Z

    I think one of my obstacles is wrapping my head around both “the feast” that Charlotte Mason wanted for children (and I do too) and minimalism. I think it might have to do with the amount of each course of the feast (short lessons, small bites) verses less subjects. Our homeschool has become so much more enjoyable since we started thinking of a feast rather than a small meal (the 3 Rs and a little history, for example). We love handicraft and poetry, math and grammar, botany and singing. I am a person who is easily bored, so more variety is good for me 🙂 But that doesn’t necessarily mean more in contrast to minimalist. Does that make any sense? LOL

    1. zara fagen Post author

      It totally makes sense. I don’t like bare and boring, either ;). I think the other part of our mentality that can work against minimalism is “right now.” Can you spread the feast more gradually – not doing all the things in a single day, or even week? I imagine spreading the feast over a lifetime, and in that way, I can focus on one or two most interesting or enriching things for a while, and then change when we’re ready to switch things up. It allows variety, but at a level that suits each person. The pressure to spread the feast, while enticing, can also feel so overwhelming.

      Thanks for coming by Debi! I always like your comments.

  2. Rita Michele

    I am so on board with implementing this mindset! I’m so glad I found your blog, and I’ve ordered your book from Amazon! Wonderful also to discover that you’re Catholic. I am as well. Blessings to you!!

    1. zara fagen Post author

      I’m happy you found it, too! Yes… I actually converted as a young adult, and I am happy every day that I did :).

        1. zara fagen Post author

          We us Catholic Schoolhouse at home. Our church also does an intergenerational faith formation program, so we meet once a month as a parish for faith formation and take goodies home to discuss the mass each week with our children. Overall, I’m an eclectic mix of classical and CM materials :).

  3. Norazlilah Ghazali

    Thanks Dr Zara… This is exactly what I need… I started minimalist life style since September 2016, and started unschooling my children from October 2017. I joined mainstream Homeschooling community but I found myself as a failure. They practice more and extra which I can’t afford mentally, physical, and financially as well. I simplified my children education from academic to music and arts plus foreign language which I can teach them by myself. Only that subjects, since my children only love to learn that. Now I feel, I am on the right track. Thank you very much Dr Zara.


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