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My Love Affair With Homeschool Catalogs Vs. Basic Necessities
Editor's note from Susan Richman.... Gwen Fredette is a homeschool mother in the Philadelphia area, and a wonderful 'blogger' about homeschooling, with a great balance on postings about homeschooling opportunities in her region (co-op activities, drama groups, field trips, special programs at area museums), and her own inspirational writing about the challenges of homeschooling and balancing all of our many responsibilities and goals. Do check out her blogsite here. I so appreciate Gwen's readiness to grant permission for PA Homeschoolers to repost selected articles here-- thanks, Gwen! I thought this particular piece would really speak to so many readers, as Gwen talks about something we are all challenged by-- finding the balance between getting 'homeschool stuff' and remembering what's really *crucial* in developing a truly positive and encouraging homeschooling *atmosphere* in our homes. Enjoy-- and looking forward to hearing your comments about what you'd deem your 'homeschooling basic necessities'.
Homeschool Catalogs. I love them. I love looking through them. I love discovering new curriculums I haven’t heard of before. I love buying new books. I love book sets. I love the way they look on my bookshelf. I love bookshelves. I love planners, and organizers, and homeschool notebooks that help me keep my paperwork in order and my day going smoothly. I love cubbies, and baskets, and bins (all color-coordinated) to keep the kid’s stuff straight. I love file systems, and homeschool manipulatives, and dry-erase boards, and bulletin boards with cute borders. I love notebooks and pencils with my kids’ names printed on them.
But, in reality I don’t need all that stuff. They’re fun to have. But when I really think on it, to do a good job homeschooling, I really only need a few important things.
Homeschooling Basic Necessities
1. A Prayerful Desire to Be the Best Teacher I Can Be. When I think back to my own school days, I have no memory of the bulletin boards, cubbies, or resources we used. I don’t even remember most of the curriculum. I do remember the teachers I had. I remember the better ones as being hard-working, helpful, tough but fair, generally happy, and pleasant to be around. I remember the bad ones as being lazy, grumpy, bad-tempered, unreasonable, or unable to control the class. The best resource I can bring to the homeschool table is being a good teacher - to trust and pray that my God will help me to be the kind of teacher He wants me to be.
2. Curriculum. I do need to get curriculum, but I shouldn’t fool myself into thinking I need to buy it brand new.* I also don’t need to buy the beautiful literature books that go with it. I can buy many excellent used curriculums for half the price....
Helps for Getting Organized this Coming School Year! Free and online ;-)
With the start of every school year, I know every homeschool mom at some point says to herself, "THIS is the year when I'm REALLY going be organized!!" Looking ahead gives us a new chance to try a new organizational plan or to set new goals for ourselves, and we all feel hopeful at this time of year. And sometimes we're on the outlook for some new tools to help us in this perrenial quest... and I've got some suggestions for you!
And know that even though our own homeschooled 'kids' are now adults on their own, I still get that school year organizational rush, as I'm very busy right now planning out my AP US History course for the coming year, seeing what topics I want to do for our monthly Homeschoolers Writing Club, and just in general wanting to hone my often 'challenged' organizational skills.
Maybe it was last night, getting the phone call at 7:05pm that let us know that my husband and I had forgotten all about the homeschoolers Square Dance we were supposed to be calling... right then. We were dressed and off within 5 minutes-- we had a wonderful time at the dance.... but the experience made me (once more!) resolve that this will be the year for me to really remember to LOOK at my calendars!
Or maybe it was the email I just received this afternoon, from a very nice homeschooling mom who wondered where the 'school year' calendar that we 'always' had posted on our website was-- she couldn't seem to find it this time. I had to let her know that we'd *never* had a 'school year' calendar available on our site for download... but then I quickly found her a wonderful website that had just such a form.... and MUCH more.
So first off, here's this site from Donna Young, a former homeschool mom-- and I *know* that many, many years ago, Donna and I used to correspond, so this felt like re-meeting an old friend ;-). Click oncalendars right here, and you'll come to Donna's page with all sorts of calendar options that you can print out....
The Great Paper Chase
"Our two greatest problems are gravity and paper work. We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paper work is overwhelming."
- Dr Wember von Braun,
quoted from Time Management for Unmanageable People
Where is the school room in your house? Are you happy with it? Does it work well for all of the things you and your children do? Does it tend to be messy? Can you find things when you want them?
If you are like us and most of our friends, homeschooling is messy. We had a grandmother who would stop by for visits and poke her head into our school room....
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