Textbook Thrills

It probably says a lot about just how unexciting a person I am, but I get quite a rush from ordering new homeschool materials.

Most homeschoolers do this in the summer to prepare for starting “school” in the fall, but for whatever reason, my daughter and I started her “school” year in January of 2011. This means that while we were fine and dandy in the summertime, we’re now facing the need for new materials for math, science, spelling, handwriting, grammar, and history in just a couple of months.

Before I went online to order the next set of materials, I reviewed my curriculum plans and resource lists and made myself a list of things to buy to get us through another year. It was all very organized, but giving myself permission to buy school things is akin to opening up Pandora’s box no matter how I try to contain it in list form. And the fact that I needed to visit five different websites to get all of the components I needed just made it all the more dangerous. I could drop the equivalent of a mortgage payment just at Rainbow Resource, easy.*

Of course, I ended up “needing” some additional fun things, like a globe and an illustrated book of Greek myths and a set of postcard-sized art prints to familiarize my children with great artists.

Now I’m all jittery anticipating the smell of the brand-new books when I open up the boxes when they arrive in a week or so. And then there’s the thrill of watching my daughter over the coming months as she learns all of the new information that’s inside the new books and realizing that even with all of our doubts and worries (and the doubts and worries others have projected upon us), we’ve done this, we’re doing it, and, so far, it’s working for us. Sure we have hiccups and arguments and days when none of us wants to do anything but sit in front of Dinosaur Train in our PJs, but on the balance, I’m really loving homeschooling.

With any luck, that will help me keep my mind off of the conversation the flute teacher wants to have this week about upgrading my daughter’s flute. Not only does it mean converting another chunk of change into material goods, but it means she’s progressing in her skills and growing in arm length enough that she’ll soon need a flute with a foot joint.

Even being involved in practically every moment, it feels like the time is slipping through my fingers like so much oobleck.

What a push and pull it is, wanting to encourage my children and cheer them on as they grow and learn and discover and at the same time wanting to cling to them tightly and not let them go.

*For the record, the amount of money I spent on homeschool materials tonight didn’t even approach the amount of our mortgage payment.

9 comments

  1. Circus Queen · October 24, 2011

    This has made me so excited about homeschooling when my daughter’s a bit older. I might start collecting stuff from now!

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    • CJ · October 24, 2011

      While I have some things from when my daughter was about two that I still find useful, I’d recommend pacing yourself. 🙂

      But it’s a great time to read up on all of the different philosophies and approaches and start thinking about what might work best for you and your daughter. That is, if you’re keen on reading up on homeschooling philosophies and approaches. I liked it to a point and then had to stop when I started getting overwhelmed and confused. I don’t need any help feeling overwhelmed and confused.

      Thanks for visiting, and thanks for your comment!

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  2. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ · October 24, 2011

    My dp calls ordering new books & supplies a “homeschool mom’s porn.” And it’s true. There’s a headiness about the possibilities, just as you describe. It’s hard to keep on budget and on task. I rarely manage it.

    And I don’t troll Rainbow Resources or we’d need a second mortgage. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one.

    Also, love WTM!

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    • CJ · October 24, 2011

      Definitely agree with your spouse’s assessment, Z.

      But WTM? I don’t know that that means.

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  4. Melanie Meadors · October 19, 2011

    LOL yes, at like EVERY event she is at, Susan Wise Bauer constant says, “Do not try to follow the WTM schedules exactly…” I really like the reading lists in there as well. We used the Ordinary Parents’ Guide as well to make sure that my kiddo knew phonics well (he was one of those kids that just picked reading up on his own, we just had to fill in gaps). Well Trained Mind is one of the pieces of our homeschool puzzle; we use a lot of their suggested resources. I have to admit, when my son was about 6 or 7, I tried to use it pretty much as the books describes. Yeah. Don’t do that. It’s not pretty. But we really enjoy the history series as well.

    I really had to get over a lot of stuff (like expectations) in order to have a good school time with my son. He is ahead in some areas, and behind in others (aka writing!), just because of his developmental differences. So this year, even though he is in 4th, we are focusing for the first time on really doing some nice penmanship, and copywork, etc. because his motor skills and muscle tone were just not there a couple years ago. He can write, but it still looks like a four year old’s printing. A couple years ago I would have been bothered by that, and I would have felt like I had to make him catch up. But now I’ve found that he learns so much more, and so much more easily, when I relax and try to meet him where he is.

    And he REALLY wants to try out that blue goop… did you find the recipe to be accurate?

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    • CJ · October 19, 2011

      I’ve not used the recipe I linked to (that seems horrible, but true), but it appears to be the same as the one I use. You can also use arrowroot in a pinch if you don’t have corn starch. I’ve not made it since little guy was old enough to enjoy it. I’ll have to mix some up again one of these rainy days (one day when I feel strong enough to handle the mess…a liquid that turns to a solid when pressure is applied to it is really a pain to wipe up).

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  5. Melanie Meadors · October 19, 2011

    I just made an order to Rainbow Resource… but one thing was backordered :(. There is nothing better than to open a big box that comes in the mail, and to smell that new book smell…

    Do you follow any particular curriculum or do you do whatever you think is important?

    Like

    • CJ · October 19, 2011

      I loosely follow The Well-Trained Mind. I love the resource lists in there and the descriptions of the different materials have really helped me decide where to start, but I find the daily schedule suggestions to be a little unrealistic. A friend saw Susan Wise Bauer when she was the keynote speaker at the Utah Home Educators Conference a few years ago, and apparently Bauer also thinks they’re a little unrealistic. She explained that her publisher recommended she include them, so she did. Hearing that helped me feel less of a sense of failure when I couldn’t get our schedule to ever look like hers. We love her Story of the World history texts and student books, though, and we used Jessie Wise’s Ordinary Parents’ Guide to Teaching Reading with great success. I’m looking forward to using it with the little guy!

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