Back-to-school. What does that bring to mind?
Hectic? Scattered? Frantic? Pressured? Stressed?
All of the above?
A minimal lifestyle makes everything easier- including going back-to-school:
1. Limited back-to-school shopping. As a minimalist, I am not pressured to buy an entire new wardrobe for my children. (For one, we don’t watch commercials that tell us what we need to be cool.)
This might be more challenging for girls, (I’m not there yet), but at this point, my boys just pick out clothes that fit their personality, and we buy them when we need them, not just because it’s a certain time of year. Of the 3 older kids, the oldest is more concerned about style and he has his own job and buys his own trendy clothes (and still did not buy an entire new wardrobe before school started).
2. School supplies- Functionality and durability is important. We invested in good backpacks and lunch bags that will last all 4 years of high school.
3. Some minimalists don’t even do school. I “unschool” my younger children and am very pleased with how easy it is to learn. Life itself is a learning experience.
3. Limited time-filling activities. Read about Simplifying Your Schedule here.
4. If your children are in school, don’t feel pressured to join the PTA/PTO board. Your child will get a better education if you spend time with them, and have a good relationship with them so they discuss what is going on at school.
5. Let go of expectations. Everyone learns differently and at a different pace, their own timeline. We don’t fill our time with child development books and stress about it, but have confidence that our children will develop, we have no need to compare them to everyone else’s child.
6. Homework- as a minimalist, don’t get involved in their homework. Sure, if they need some help understanding what needs to be done. But they were given instructions and most likely taught how to do it, what they need is to sit down and do it independently. Don’t take over projects or do the work for them. Allow them to experience the joy of completed a task and the reward of a good grade, or the consequence if it isn’t done properly. It’s part of learning how to live life and pay attention to instruction. They will function better in life if they learn these lessons as they grow.
Minimalist Parenting by Christine Koh and Asha Dornfest has some wonderful examples of routines that help throughout the school year.