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