Preparing for School... details, details...

Anyone else noticing the back-to-school sales that started popping up last weekend? Anyone else have a small panic attack before realizing that you homeschool and it isn't actually Autumn yet?

Truth be told, I am pretty well set for the coming year because I've been shopping used books and such all Spring and Summer (the little we've had of it so far). I don't need to stress about school "supplies" because I am the teacher... and I do not dock points for missing pencils (although I do sometimes charge a dime for extra pencils when the first, perfectly good ones given, have been lost in the couch cushions). The kids love new notebooks and such but we don't always need them before the institutional school year begins.

We do not wear uniforms. We tried to implement a dress code a few years ago. I designed a logo and we had it embroidered on some Lands End sweatshirts and knit dresses that I made. But it just didn't make fiscal sense as the years rolled by. Less money is spent when we just wear what we already have. The kids looked darling in their matching clothes though.

2003 school "uniforms"
We do not use school desks. We also tried that once several years ago with darling used school desks we found for $5. After discovering how much space they take up and how impractical they actually were for studying we just gave them away.

We do not own a blackboard but a gigantic dry-erase board is on my wish list. I don't really see using it in the traditional stand-and-point way as a teacher; rather, I think it would be wonderful for listing specific family chores, daily schedule, prayer intentions, love notes and just as a great place for us to express ourselves.

I actually do really like shopping the school sales (we're out of glue and some odds and ends)... but I'm just not feeling any anxiety about it (after that first reflexive panic attack, of course).

The big pressure for me is about mid-August when my Notice of Intent to homeschool and various other papers have to be mailed off to the school district. I feel like I have to put my school year (which hasn't even started) in a neat box for the superintendent to analyze and "approve." (In reality, I don't need his approval by law; the paperwork is sent simply to notify of my legal right to opt out of public education.) It's a minor irritation mostly sparked by my strong opinion that a simple notice of intent should not have to include book or curriculum lists or any other information of the sort.

My method of educating my children is different from that of the public educational system. To be evaluated on any level by the administrators of that institution makes no sense to me. A broken and struggling educational system standing in authority and judgement over me? It rankles.

Our school is not one-size-fits-all. It changes according to changing individual needs and goals. My students are not robots. Instead of one history textbook we might use 10 to 30 history books (actual books, not outrageously redacted textbooks). If I give a book list to the superintendent, I can almost guarantee that it will change throughout the year. We do have history textbooks and the kids read them and I list them because that is what the district wants. If it makes them feel in control... whatever... I'll play the game honestly.

At any rate, their doors will open soon and mine will remain open (revolving doors that they are), so that we can take advantage of the few weeks of gorgeous September weather that comes our way in Ohio.

The two action plans on my list this week are somewhat contradictory: Finish reading the John Holt books I borrowed from the library. And determine which planner I'm going to be using. My unschooling pipe dream meets the real world.
Posted on July 12, 2011 and filed under "home education", "homeschooling".