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Back to Homeschool

By Pam Powers

It's that time of year when we're deluged with advertisements for "back to school" items - items that likely have little or no relevance in our homeschooled home. Replacement crayons and markers -- okay. Notebook paper? Check. We always need new whiteboard markers and erasers too. But lunch boxes? The only lunch box we have in our house is a pizza box and that's only if we're too lazy to make our own far more fabulous pizzas.

New pencil cases? My kids both have the pencil boxes they received in kindergarten as kind of a fun thing to have. They've kept their pencils and crayons in their boxes in the past, but now that they're in middle school and high school, their notebooks have pencil cases in them already.

New notebooks? The old three-ringed binders we bought two years ago are good for another year. I bought the "view" binders so that the kids could make their own designs and change them out. They have re-used the same old designs for the past two years and it seems as if this year we'll see the same old thing again.

Back-to-school clothes? We homeschool - they're called pajamas! Anyway, neither kid has grown in a while, so we'll stick with what we've got. There's always the hand-me-down bin if someone has a growth spurt.

I guess we're partly creatures of habit, partly frugal, and partly - not of the world. We see the world desire all the physical things that make a "successful" foray into school and realize that the only thing we really need is our bible and each other. Everything else is just extra (although a globe or map is nice to have on hand). Okay, we really need Teaching Textbooks for math, too, but that's it!

My boys have used backpacks on wheels for years. They're very practical and easy to tote along. My older son's friend said that at his school he'd be ridiculed for such a backpack - that "no one" uses wheels - they're for geeks. I looked at this boy's backpack that was so stuffed with heavy textbooks the zipper had split. He had back pain from carrying it around and now that he's in high school three miles from his house, the walk home toting those books is going to be pretty tough.

I worried that my son would reject his backpack; that the concept of being "uncool" would get to him. Fortunately he's made of tougher stuff than that. He just shrugged it off and said, "Well, I'm glad I don't know the people you know."

So - back to homeschool! Back to the kitchen table, the cozy couch for reading aloud, and the yummy nutritious leftovers for lunch. Back to waking up by 8:00 a.m., reading the paper and getting chores done so we can school by 9 or 9:30 - not "zero period". Back to books that glorify our Lord, not ignore His existence (or worse, textbooks that mention every other god but Him!)

And back to our everyday supplies that have served us so well. The rulers we bought seven years ago when we began homeschooling. The plastic bins and magazine holders that store all those flimsy Scholastic books. And our kitchen counter, where we can get some pretty great schooling accomplished - right after we clean up the flour from our homemade pizza dough.

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