Living Simply
Saturday, 01 June 2019

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Today, more than at any other time, there is a push to live simply – to live tiny, to minimize, to “KonMari” our lives. This philosophy states that by eliminating distraction, eradicating things that are superfluous, excavating anything that does not bring us joy, we can live more abundant lives. And there is a truth in this philosophy which probably accounts for why it is so popular today. So how can that simple living be applied to homeschooling?

When they imagine homeschooling, many people picture their children surrounded by books, paper, crayons, pens, and pencils; with each ensuing year, more curriculum and more materials are needed until, sooner or later, this stuff needs a place, a large plastic container, a desk, a cart. The list of what we “need” grows exponentially with each child until a separate room becomes necessary for learning – a homeschool room. But is this all necessary when one is trying to live a minimalistic and simple life?

For me, BJU Press Distance Learning fits my bill of minimalistic living. As an all-in-one curriculum, it contains just the essentials needed for an outstanding education without adding extras that are not needed. Student textbooks can either be purchased in print or even as e-textbooks online. Teacher’s editions are found online as well. While BJU Press provides printed Video Lesson Guides (affectionately known as VLGs), the online lessons are set up with all the information and materials that will be needed. Even math manipulatives and books to read are included. Some grades even include educational games to reinforce learning!

BJU Press Homeschool curriculum is easy to keep organized. Lessons do not need to be torn out of worktexts, and loose papers are able to be placed in a binder. A minimal amount of shelf space is needed to store all the components as well as any supplies that may be needed. An entire year’s curriculum, including additional novels used in Reading and Bible and a 3-ring binder to hold papers, can fit in a milk crate and be stored in a closet.

BJU Press does not demand a collection of extra books – and we can go to the library every 3 weeks or so to find extra books on subjects my children grow an interest in researching. I find I do not need a lot of extra curriculum to “round out” my children’s lessons, although if I am honest, I have a weak spot for games such as Sequence or Equate. Science, especially in elementary, does not require many supplies that are not already in my house – string, balloons, baking soda, etc. Until 6th grade, all workbooks are consumables, so we don’t even use much lined paper, and art supplies are generally the ones common to all homeschools.

Because the lesson plans are already done, and the supplies primarily provided or easily available, the amount of prep-work before the school week involves reviewing the lessons that will be covered this week (I grade as we go) and making a list of supplies we will need. In fact, I try to prep 2 weeks in advance so that if I need a supply from the local discount store, I have a week to run and get it. This way it is more relaxed, and I do not feel pressured to run and get materials for the next day.

The BJU Press Homeschool online program also keeps my grade book and attendance, which I can print out if needed. It even keeps a record of how much time is spent online on each subject. This minimizes the paperwork and materials needed to fulfill state requirements. With fewer materials to have on hand, a solid organization of lessons, as well as online materials that make schooling more effective, I find my stress lessened, and I have extra time to spend ministering to my family and teaching my child.

Living a simple life, limiting extras that do not benefit my family and distract from my walk with God, providing quality education at a reasonable cost – all these are good reasons for me to use BJU Press Homeschool materials. I am so glad that I “KonMari”-ed my home and my home school.

Meet the Author

Rebecca Kruc - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant