Minimalist Homeschooling // School Shopping List

I wanted to write a detailed shopping list for those of you interested in getting started in our form of artsy minimalist homeschooling. This is going to be the general tools we use to conduct our school year, not curriculum. 

If you're new around this blog, I'll give you a quick rundown on what exactly minimalist homeschooling is. Minimalist homeschooling is a way of cutting our excess, frivolity and overwhelm typically, though not always, involved in more traditional methods of schooling. 

We strive to create an atmosphere of calm, peace, constant learning, adventures, artistic pursuit and discovery without getting bogged down in piles of curriculum. For example, instead of teaching spelling, vocabulary, grammar and writing as separate subjects, we teach them organically through literature and copywork. If you're familiar with the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, you know what that is all about. 

It's like combining Waldorf, Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, Notebooking, Montessori and Classical methods of homeschooling and then stripping back the fluff so that it's simple and uncluttered. If you want a more detailed idea of what that looks like for us, check out this blog post here

I did a Pre-K/Kindergarten post recently that shows what we use specifically and what our general schedule is like. I will do one for upper elementary and for my middle schooler soon, just in case you're interested in what we're using specifically as far as curriculum choices.

Below the shopping list, I'll talk a little bit about how we use these in our homeschool and how we cover all subjects. If you'd rater watch a video of me going over everything, scroll down to see that. WARNING : I'm don't wear makeup and I didn't brush my hair for the spur of the moment video. You've been warned. Carry on...

If you can borrow or find some of the items below from friends or family members, definitely do. It's a great way to stay on budget. 

We have saved money by simply posting to facebook or asking friends if they have what we're looking for. I'm hoping that you already have many of these items so that you don't have to purchase much. 

Pastels [Oil + Chalk]
Math Manipulatives 

As mentioned, here is a video of me going over the school stuff that we use. I'm sorry that my allergies were killing me so I keep sniffling...also I say "um" quite a lot. My bad, yo.

The only thing on that list above that I struggle with minimizing is books. I looooooove books. I love reading them, holding them, purchasing them, and a giant boxes filled with them. If there's one thing to go a bit crazy with, I'm okay with it being quality books. 

The first several items on the list are used for every subject. That is where we take what we have learned and make artsy pages to be laminated. The micron pens and calligraphy markers are for the artsy pages, making the details stand out. 

The Decomposition Books are used for practicing what goes on the artsy papers, any other learning, note taking, story writing or essays.

Each kid works to their own level in their decomposition books. Lorelai will do research papers, essays, lengthy copywork and such for her 7th grade level. She takes notes from all of the books she is reading. She especially enjoys taking notes from her entrepreneurship schooling.

Brie will work to her level. She's struggled with dyslexia and reading comprehension so we work to a level that is challenging enough for her.

My son, Everett, mostly scribbles, draws and writes letters in his. We don't do formal Kindergarten schooling but he enjoys "doing school" just like his sisters. We read the book Time of Wonder and he wrote down the word "wonder" as a new vocabulary word.

The graph paper notebooks are the most excellent invention. The larger blocks are perfect for lining up math problems. It's a lot easier to illustrate long division this way and kids can easily see where they line the numbers up in their place value. 

Math manipulatives are amazing and they do not need to be fancy purchased things. I got a tip to hit up the dollar spot at Target. I got a couple glass jars with lids and bought some $1 packages of erasers [adorable little cacti print] to use as counters. Beans, buttons, shells, pebbles, glass marbles, wood pieces....anything that can be grouped and organized can be utilized for math demonstrations. 

Instruments and handicrafts. These are what our afternoons are made of on our daily/weekly rhythm schedule. I posted links to three easy to learn instruments for children [or you!] Music & handicrafts are so important! They might be getting hit hard with budget cuts in the public schools but we can keep it alive in our homeschools. 

Handicrafts are the types of crafts that end up being useful and more meaningful. Paper crafts [cutting and gluing worksheets, construction paper scraps] can be fun for kids but often end up getting tossed out in our home. I'm a mean mom, I know. I take pictures of it and move on. 

The kids enjoy crocheting, knitting, woodworking, weaving, card making, and jewelry making. There are dozens more things that your kids could get into that help build a strong skill in them. They could even go full on entrepreneur [kidpreneur] and sell their creations. 

Books, Literature and Bible are the core of our curriculum. These are our resources that are the backbone for our lifetime learning. We utilize these things to springboard our imaginations and thoughts, discussions and research.

I did a post on the books we use for entrepreneurship, foreign languages, languages arts, and classic literature.

You can always use the library instead of purchasing. I'm pretty sure I'm banned from the library since I always have overdue book fees. We discovered that we saved money by just growing a home library.

Note: We just discovered [after nearly three years] that Spotify has audio books. Yeah. AUDIO BOOKS. I'm saying they have all the classics that Lorelai is reading and fairy tales and Edgar Allen Poe and so much more on their audio books section...that I didn't know existed.

We use this for my daughter Brie's dyslexia and when my eldest would like to read along to some books.

Finally, the laminating and binding of their work. I used to three hole punch the laminated sheets but I stopped doing that. I was going to bind them myself in an artsy, cool, innovative way, but decided simplicity should win out on this. Also, my three hole puncher wasn't getting the holes evenly spaced due to the lamination. And that made my eye twitch.

I am going to be purchasing the Pro-Click binding machine. I've heard so many homeschool moms rave about it, but I hadn't needed it before. Apparently, once bound, if you need to move a sheet around or add a sheet to the middle [or where ever] you can open it, add it and then close up the binding.

Mind. Blown. #ShutUpAndTakeMyMoney

The laminator isn't pricey. The pouches I use are 5mm, but when I'm out of those I will likely switch to the 3mm ones as they are plenty sturdy enough.

The laminated work is where the kids write final drafts of papers, essays and reports. They are encouraged to do their best work on these since they will be going in their book. It's basically a portfolio of their best work and looks like a fun heirloom of their childhoods.

Netflix, Pureflix and YouTube are used for history, science, geography and more. We don't rely on this as a core of our curriculum, just to add visual learning to what we are studying. We were learning about different countries and the kids had a blast watching kids showing what their rooms look like all around the world.

We also watch things like David the Gnome on YouTube, Missionary stories on PureFlix and WWII stuff on Netflix. These help add imagery to what they're studying and they tend to remember it more when there is a strong visual attached.

Aloha, Jane

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