I love the line in You've Got Mail about a bouquet of sharpened pencils. That just perfectly captures how I feel about late summer, and the anticipation of a new school year. When My kids are all grown up, I surely will have to get a job in a school somewhere so that I can continue to participate in this season.
In less than glamorous fashion, however, the reality involved me spending time today getting loads of books off the various shelves of our house and stacking them all on our bed, sorting them into "keep", "use next school year", and "discard" piles. The discard pile was rather huge because we bought lots of curriculum (workbooky type of stuff) that everyone ended up thorougly hating fairly soon after we acquired it. This disappointed Wes to no end, because of the expense of the hated workbooky curriculum that got ditched half way through the year, but I keep telling him that it's part of the process.
Each year we've spent around a thousand dollars on our home school. Last year we spent two thousand, and ended up ditching the materials. Expensive mistake. Live and learn, I guess.
So, it's back to tried and true methods this year, and each year that goes by I gain more confidence. I know I'll get stressed out half way through the school year. I always do. I know it will be hard during the winter months. It always is. I know that life gets crazy busy around Christmas time and it's really hard to focus on school work. I'll come up with a plan.
My stack of books that we already own that we will use is big. I have some big ticket items to buy, though, like a microscope, biology lab kit and high school level math curriculum on CD-Rom. I happen to adore Teaching Textbooks, and I consider them to be worth every penny ($186.95-yowzers!). So we are investing in the future. By the time all four kids use them, the cost will be reduced to a very cheap price...per kid. This year we have to buy two of them: Algebra 1 and 2. We already own Geometry and next year Maia can use that. These investments will start to pay off.
So, I stacked books and sorted and culled and organized, and made a list of what we still need to buy. I'm excited. I like the beginning of the school year, and I like the fact that my kids are old enough to learn independently. I also like pencils and pens, papers, printer ink and new erasers.
I also love the fall, crisp leaves, walks in the park in the cooler weather, all things bookish, tea related and warm. Getting ready for back-to-school makes me think fall is just around the corner, when in reality it's still more than two full months away. It never truly cools down until October around here.
But at least this year I don't have to MOVE!!!!!