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The Homeschooler’s Back to School List

Ah, the end of August approaches. Time for back-to-school lists…

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Wait. We’re homeschoolers. Back to school lists?

Oh yes, homeschoolers have them too. Whether you have schooled straight through all year, or taken some time off in the summer, fall is a time that many homeschoolers take inventory of their educational process, and “get set” for a new year ahead. And just like those in public or private school, homeschoolers have things on their list to help them make the upcoming school year a success. You know, all of those things you need so that this year will be the perfect homeschool year. And toward that end, the homeschooler’s back-to-school list might look just a tad bit different from the traditional school supply list…

1. 4 new bookshelves, including built-ins over the doorways. Actually, if the hubby can figure out how to convert the dining room china cabinet into a bookshelf, we could get 5. Oh! And selling off the china that has been used exactly once (on our first anniversary, before kids) could yield us a good three years’ worth of homeschool books to put in them.

2. 14 extra pairs of pajamas, since that is what every person in the house wears until about 2 p.m.

3. A computer that can handle an online science curriculum, multiple Word documents, e-mail, a photo program, and an educational video being open at the same time, without having to slow to the pace of drying paint.

4. Organizational bins of all shapes and sizes. Including small-compartment bins for the plethora of beads, doo-dads, sequins, stickers, and other microscopic craft supplies that are currently living in plastic baggies or halfway-opened original packaging. Bonus if the bins come with an organizational expert who will actually make sure the stuff gets put into the bins.

5. A dry-erase board for each child. Along with a lifetime supply of dry-erase markers that actually WORK.

6. One of those nifty label-maker thingys. Well, make that 2. So that when the toddler pulls all of the label tape out, we have an extra one handy.

7. A huge magnetic chore chart, with color-coordinated, write-in chore sections for up to 18 kids. Even better –  if it comes with the chores already listed for each person.

8. Lacing beads, tangrams, magnetic boards, shape blocks, and any other educational toys that will keep the 2-year-old occupied long enough for Mom to finish a thought.

9. 100 file folders. Filing? Who has time to file? This is a homeschooler’s list. It’s for lapbooks.

10. 2 filing cabinets. For storing all of those lapbooks.

11. A pedestal for the cat food. So the baby can’t eat it while everyone else is busy doing school.

12. 6 pillow lap desks. This way every child can do their work in a separate room without the ubiquitous “Johnny is hitting my foot with his foot” distractions and arguments. All 6 must be exactly the same color and shape, to avoid bickering over who gets which one.

13. A copy of the latest homeschool convention on audio…particularly that one workshop on “Getting it all accomplished and keeping your sanity”.

14. 15 Sam’s warehouse-sized bags of M&Ms for motivators. No, make that 17. So Mom has a couple bags for herself to get her through the times the motivators don’t help. Do M&M’s come in diet?

15. A pencil sharpener that never dulls, gets stuck, or eats pencils. If such a thing exists.

16. A laundry fairy. Can you buy those, or do they just show up?

17. A pre-teen neighbor to keep the baby entertained while Mom works with the older kids. Preferably one who is willing to work for the incredibly low cost of “for the experience”!

18. Books on CD for the auditory learners, all-in-one-science-kits for the kinesthetic learners, Usborne encyclopedia books for the visual learners, and lots of teething rings for the, um, gustatory learners.

19. A Roomba. Y’know, one of those vacuums that is supposed to clean automatically on its own, just by the push of a button. As long as the thing has a contingency for handling 3 inch dog hair dust bunnies.

20. A gift certificate to the spa for Mom, to be used when the inevitable pulling-her-hair-out, apoplectic “I CANNOT DO THIS ANYMORE” moment occurs, so she can get away from the kids and regain her sanity for tackling the rest of the year.

Rebecca Capuano

Rebecca Capuano is the stay-at-home mom of three children (one of whom is in heaven) who also makes attempts at being a homeschooler, writer, photographer, scrapbooker, and truth-seeker. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from East Carolina University, and has worked in a variety of capacities (including group homes, day treatment centers, and public schools) with at-risk children and staff, including developing a therapeutic and educational day treatment center for delinquent youth in Wilmington, North Carolina. She currently resides in Virginia, and has written on a variety of topics for both and Home Educators Association of Virginia. Rebecca believes that family is created by God as the most fundamental institution in society, and she is dedicated to helping families nurture their children to become responsible persons of character and integrity.

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  1. This describes our homeschooling so well. My Back-to-School list looked like this for most years, including the part about identical items so that the kids couldn’t argue over who gets what. What a great idea to convert the china cabinet to bookshelves! I have so many bookshelves already, but they are full of books and I keep buying more.

  2. This was SOOO hilarious. I referenced the article in my post tonight.

    Thanks for the big laugh!

  3. Eema23

    This list is great and so true.

    You should know the Roomba vacuum robot gets stuck after it picks up dog hair, 2cats’ hair and hair from 4 long haired girls/women who should not be combing or brushing in the living room. Also Roomba doesn’t handle,pens, pencils, art work, spilled beads, textbooks and school papers left on the floor, which need to be picked up before Roomba goes after the hair and dust.

  4. OMG, it’s like you’ve been in my head!!! LOL Glad to see I am not alone 🙂
    GREAT list 🙂 Thank you for making me smile!

  5. sarah

    Hey! They really do make a roomba that will tackle hugh, furry dust bunnies. It’s my best friend!

  6. Oh my! This just made my morning. I think I could use those m&ms and its only 9:05. :o)

  7. Jess

    Ahhh! I feel so validated right now! The babysitter who works more for experience NEEDS to live on my block! Then, I don’t have to worry about selling the china I do not have; because I will have saved so much $$$ using that committed preteen. This is really hysterical – thank you.

  8. Deliese

    A pedestal for the cat food! Fantastic! Every single one of our babies has managed to eat some of the urinary tract formula cat food. You guessed it, everything came out in the end.

    Selling the china for more bookshelf room! Priceless! Although, I wonder if that would work. . . .

  9. Love your list. I tweeted it and posted a link on Facebook… just too funny!

  10. Willy

    Have you been in my house?!? How did you know?!?

  11. Hasana

    OMG! So funny but oh so TRUE! I needed this list! Places everything into perspective! I love my kids and I love homeschooling… Can we try the m&m’s with peanuts? Ha!

  12. Mary S

    I loved the list but what about making your own lap desks? The dollar store has trays for 1$ and I used the back panel of old shirts.Just glue edges of cloth to the bottom of the trays,leaving a opening and after glue dries really well,fill with rice then finish gluing fabric to tray.Let it dry again and you have a lap desk.I made mine from things I already had and love them.We had bought a 50lb bag of rice @ Sams so I needed to use it.

  13. The Japanese are working on a laundry robot and when it comes out I am so getting one:)

  14. This is AWESOME!!!! Gotta love this life, right?!

  15. What a great list! You and I share lots of home school wishes.

  16. Lori C.

    Love it! Let’s add a cook and personal shopper!

  17. Rebecca,

    I love this list. It’s hilarious and full of honesty.

    Rebecca G.

  18. Tracy

    I love this! I agree with it all except the M&M’s sadly we can not eat anything like that here but we do use other things for motivation if we need it. We unschool my oldest, so she does her own thing but my youngest is less motivated and has a set of things she must do each day (well we try anyway LOL) we have not even had summer here though, so dreading the fall comming soon 🙁

  19. I’m already to the phase where mom pull’s her hair out and screams “I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE” and we haven’t even started school yet LOL

  20. Nicole Comeaux

    Absolutely hilarious, but oh so true!

  21. Jeannie

    I could stare at those m&ms all day long… cute article. 🙂

  22. Tiffany @ Home Grown Families

    I LOVE this article!! 🙂 I thought I was the only one who could never find enough stuff to organize… 🙂

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