It’s a book, a Netflix series, and a movement: Tidying Up. Learn 4 ways you can “tidy up” your homeschool to make it better!
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I held the jeans in my hands and asked, “Do these jeans spark joy?”
And I answered myself, “Well they did about fifteen pounds ago when they didn’t squish that extra flap of fat over the top.”
At that point I was supposed to thank them for their service and give them away to someone who wasn’t into muffin tops. Both figuratively and literally.
So I released them, but I didn’t tell them thank you. I kind of resented that they seemed to have shrunk at least one size since I bought them. I’m kind of a KonMari rebel that way. (I mean seriously, it’s an object. I’m not going to talk to it. But more about that in a bit.)
But I did learn a lot from sweet Marie . . .
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo: It’s a book that became a Netflix series that became a “throw-everything-that-doesn’t-bring-me-joy-out” kind of movement. And it makes a lot of sense, at least most of the time.
But even if we don’t agree with all of Marie Kondo’s beliefs, we can learn a lot about how to declutter the things we don’t need so we can have a cleaner, more peaceful home. And those principles can be applied to our homeschools as well.
4 Ways You Can “Tidy Up” Your Homeschool to Make it Better
1. Say thank you.
Marie teaches her clients to say thank you to the object for its service. Obviously I disagree with this. It’s an object. Our clothes or cooking utensils or even our houses don’t hear or feel our appreciation.
But we serve the One who does! Throughout the Bible we see how important it is to be thankful. So if you are are decluttering your home, go ahead and say “thank you.” But say it to our great Provider.
When we have an attitude of gratitude, we focus on what we have and not what we don’t have. In our homeschools it helps us to appreciate the uniquely designed children God has given us. It keeps us from spending our time comparing our homeschools to our friend’s.
So say thank you for
- The opportunity to homeschool
- Your uniquely created kids from toddlers to teens
- All the resources and curriculum choices we have available today—especially the ones we have in our homes right now
2. Find what sparks joy.
This advice makes me laugh at times. Marie Kondo asks her clients to hold an object in their hands and ask, “Does it spark joy?” when trying to decide whether to keep something or toss it out. My washer and dryer don’t necessarily spark joy, but I am thankful for them (see #1). And I’m pretty sure my husband wouldn’t be good with me decluttering our home by getting rid of them.
There are simply things we need. Just like the things around our home that we need, there are subjects and assignments our kids need to work on, even if they aren’t their favorites.
But those types of studies can’t be what we do all the time. And often we can even figure out ways to find joy in the things we don’t normally gravitate to by doing them differently.
So consider what might bring a little joy to your homeschool
- Cooking together
- Hands-on projects
- Going on nature walks
- Meeting friends to go on a field trip together
- Talking about books in a book club
- Learning to sew, knit, or crochet
- Setting up a scene from a book or story from history with LEGOs
- Participating in a science fair
We have to remember, too, that what sparks joy for our children may fizzle for us. That’s okay. We can find a balance in creating a homeschool experience that works for both our kids and ourselves. But as homeschooling moms, there really is nothing better than seeing the spark of joy lighting up our kids’ eyes, of hearing them say, “Can we do school?”
3. Clean out the clutter.
Tidying up helps you discover what is most important in your life. Marie advises, “What I really want you to ask yourself is if this is something you really want to take into your future.”
I like to think of decluttering this way—it isn’t about what you get rid of but about what you keep. So when it comes to tidying up your homeschool, consider the following:
- Resources and curriculum. Which ones work the best for my kids? Do I have ones I’ve never actually used? Will I use it, or is it time to sell or bless another family with it?
- Subjects you study. Do we need to be doing this subject, or are we doing it because “every one else” is (by the way . . . they aren’t!)? If it’s a subject we need to study, do we need to do it every day? Every year?
- Outside classes and activities. Are our outside classes and activities taking away from our homeschool experience or adding to it? Are we excited about them, or do they cause us to feel stressed or anxious? What good things are we involved in that aren’t the best things for our family?
4. Make sure everything has a place.
It sounds easy, but often we struggle with this one. Especially when our children don’t share our love of putting things up when we are finished with them. (Honestly that’s not a love of mine either. I enjoy a neat and clean house, but I wish it just happened magically. I have heard there are people out there who do love cleaning, though . . .)
So if you want to be successful, consider including your children in an organizing project. Ask them to help you find ways that are easy to use and make sense for you as a family. Have a family meeting and talk about the level of neatness you all can agree to.
Some things that worked for us over the years included
- Using workboxes for each subject
- Having a designated area for our school books to be put back in at the end of the day
- Keeping baskets of books around the house
- Having a drawer with extra pens and pencils
- Designating a closet for crafts supplies, games, and puzzles
Resources To Help You Tidy Up Your Home & Homeschool
Do Some Spring Cleaning.
Be inspired by Tidying Up this spring. By taking the time to work through these four areas, you’ll find a calmer, more connected homeschool experience waiting for you.