The 15th Minimalist Homeschooling Mindset Hack in the book is: Goals highlight what is truly necessary. Since minimalist homeschooling relies on doing only that which is truly necessary or loved, it stands to reason that we have to decide what is truly necessary??? While the book walks you through establishing your own values and priorities to direct your goals, sometimes state education standards provide a good starting point for identifying our immediate goals.
Honestly, when I began homeschooling, state education standards were the most straightforward way to assess:
1) What my children could be learning, and
2) whether I was “missing” anything important.
Keep in mind that state standards are NOT the same as state REQUIREMENTS in most states. Rather, these are recommendations, or guidelines. Just because your state has educational standards, that does necessarily mean that homeschoolers are required to abide by them. Ultimately, many homeschoolers are tasked with establishing their own academic priorities, so these serve as a guideline for your own focused and minimal homeschool.
How is this Minimalist?
Alert! Just printing these state education standards, or buying a book without filtering the content will NOT create a minimalist homeschool. In fact, you may feel more overwhelmed than ever. State standards are NOT the prescribed minimalist homeschool curriculum. And, you don’t work toward all the goals all at once.
To be minimalist, YOU MUST SIFT THROUGH THESE MOUNTAINS OF RECOMMENDATIONS USING YOUR PERSONAL VALUES AND CURRENT PRIORITIES. These lists are just a starting point! If you haven’t read the book (which goes into more detail about streamlining and prioritizing), these blog posts may help get you more focused:
Now, I know that there are probably a lot of minimalist homeschoolers that completely ignore these standards when setting goals for their children, which is a totally viable option. I am not here to say that you should or should not use state education standards as a foundation for your homeschool goals – that’s something that is in your heart and values. I am saying that many homeschoolers like to have a starting point, and that using prescribed standards reassures many homeschoolers, especially those who are new to the game. The point of this post is to help people think about their educational goals because that will simplify and focus their school. These links are intended to be a tool toward that end.
Here is what makes goals vital to a minimalist homeschool:
Once you know your child’s learning objectives,
you can give those your attention, and stop devoting unnecessary time to things that are just not a priority.
In addition, once you reach a goal, move on!
Don’t forget to pin this page so that you can return to it and reassess your homeschooling goals as needed!
How Valuable are State Education Standards?
The answer to that depends on your educational values and your goals for your child. Many states accepted Common Core Standards (here is more information about which states use Common Core, and exactly what those standards are).
Given the controversy surrounding the common core, and government-run schools in general, I want to start by recommending a couple books that I prefer over state standards.
I return to these books repeatedly as I reassess our homeschool plans, and to brainstorm some learning options. Ultimately, I want my children to have a thorough and well-rounded education so that they know enough to pursue what they love, and can learn whatever they may need. So, given that goal, and because I live in a relaxed state, the following books have been more valuable to me than state standards:
Here, I provide a list of links for state education standards. Oftentimes, once on the given page, you must use the menus to navigate among subjects and grades. Sometimes they are also called sate learning standards, curriculum frameworks, or academic standards – it all means basically the same thing.
Disclaimer: While I will do my best to link up to as many state educational standards as I can, and keep this updated, please do not rely on me to provide all of the necessary information to meet your state’s homeschooling requirements. Instead, I recommend looking at the HLSDA’s website for up-to-date information on specific state homeschooling requirements. Please only use these these links to standards as a rough roadmap for your homeschooling goals as you’re creating a minimalist homeschool.
If you don’t see standards listed here for your specific state, that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist! It only means that I struggled to find a web accessible version of them. If you have a link for state education standards that I missed (Connecticut or West Virginia, anyone???), please leave a comment so that I can update this list. Thanks!
What do you think about using state education standards as a starting point for your homeschool goals? How do you decide on your goals? Join the conversation by commenting below…
This post is part of the Minimalist Homeschooling Mindset Series in which I provide more detailed information relating to each of the minimalist homeschooling mindset hacks in the the book Minimalist Homeschooling.
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Wishing you all of the simple things,