An Honest Letter From A Homeschooling Mom of 5: Back to School Fundraisers Don’t Apply.

pencils. my favorite smell.

Mmmmmm…..back to school season.

There are a few things I sincerely love more than chocolate. Shoe sales, dress sales, free gluten free pizzas (I’m a cheap date, what can I say), and back to school shopping.

There is a primal thrill of grabbing a fresh pack of yellow pencils and throwing them in the shopping cart, right next to the stack of new spiral notebooks just waiting to be filled with doodles, hearts and tropical landscapes dripping with mermaids.

…and schoolwork. Around the doodles.

Fresh binders, new packs of binder paper, pink erasers…I love them all!

And I am buying…them all!

Because we homeschool, and we are not going through a charter school or receiving public funding, we are buying everything for school.  The paper, the projects, the pencils, the erasers, the notebooks…as well as the desks, the chairs, the teachers’ log, the math curriculum, the language arts curriculum, the science curriculum, the history curriculum…

You get the idea.

Every time this back to school season comes around, I will admit something very, very selfish:

I am awfully jealous of teachers.

This is why: “DIY Teacher Appreciation Gifts!” “Back to School Gift Ideas For the Teacher!

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I have been homeschooling my kids for 8 years now.  We have kept up with the 3 S’s: standards, socialization and schedules.  I was a teacher before my husband and I started having kids, and I have my degree and have passed the state certificates/tests necessary to be a public school teacher, and I also enjoyed some private school substitute teaching, as well.  I loved being in the classroom with the kids and teaching them about the Constitution, or doing math games on the blackboard. I remember this one time when I was substituting for a few days in a Kindergarten class, there was a little girl who was always goofing around during math, and I could tell she was just stalling on her work because she didn’t understand it. So I took her to the front desk during naptime and we quietly worked out how to add apples from apple trees together on the whiteboard. All of a sudden, there was a clarity in her eyes as she finally realized what addition was. Suddenly, she was finishing her entire math worksheet…and I helped her get there! That happened well over a decade ago, but that moment when I helped her understand the concept of addition is a magical moment I will never forget.

When we decided to homeschool, I was excited…and terrified. It seemed like there was a safety net in a school classroom that mystically exuded knowledge; but at home? Would school just be on the chore chart, or could we actually make this work? Could I still hold the authority of a teacher when I was still wearing pajama bottoms at 4 in the afternoon? Would the kids learn how to read under my guidance?

Not only have they, but I now have 8 years worth of magical breakthrough moments under my teaching belt; which is awesome.

There are the very little details which the schoolroom has, which doesn’t come with homeschooling. My kids don’t come home with hand turkeys at Thanksgiving, they don’t bring home paper plate snowmen in January, and they don’t bring handmade cards for Mother’s Day.  There have been times when I had no idea it was Columbus Day, or that some schools take 3 weeks off during winter break.  I take homeschooling very seriously, and sometimes I have to remind myself that all the knowledge and information my kids have learned is not going to fall out of their heads if we take a day off…or a week off!  They need a break, and I need a break. Otherwise, we are all going to burnout; and that won’t help anyone develop the love of learning, which is the entire point of this adventure.

Yet, around this time of year, seeing facebook and sundry websites littered with the teacher appreciation gifts, I do get a little forlorn about missing that aspect of school.

So, what should I do.

Am I going to mope around, and drive very slowly past elementary schools?

No. That’s creepy. Come on.

I am going to do what I always do…

go to Oriental Trading and buying myself some bootstraps, baby!

We’re decking out our schoolroom with classroom management posters,



Scientific Method posters,13630338Dry erase schedule keeper magnets,13697966First day of school picture frames,48_2487

And, of course, turkey crafts for later.48_7079

It’s going to be a great year, I just know it  🙂



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