Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Book sifting

I read this post at Cay Gibson's blog, which was actually this post at MacBeth Derham's blog, and I thought, "What a small, unschool-y world. That's what I'm doing, too!"

MacBeth discussed curriculum shopping on her own shelves. (She gets a little more specific here about what she's actually plucking off the shelves for use this year.)

And that's what I'm in the middle of. There are piles of books in various spots around the house as I sift, sort and settle. I've even vowed not to crack open another catalog until all the sorting is done.

All of this reminded me of a post I did a couple of years ago, called, "The Plan." I've reposted it below, and I'll get back to you on this year's plan after the sifting and sorting have been settled.

The Plan

Lissa's posts on curriculum at The Lilting House seem to be striking a chord with many. It's almost like a virus that's making the rounds: homeschooling moms are assessing their curriculum overload and deciding that they've had enough. And they're not going to take it anymore.

But, the posts strike a chord here, too.

I'm an eclectic, unschoolish, flexible homeschooler, but I love to browse curriculum catalogs, buy new things, invest in new books and try out new ideas. And, I often end up abandoning the stuff I've bought in favor of fashioning our own curriculum or delving into treasures we've found at the library (or buried in our home library.)

That's really not such a bad thing. I think we homeschooling moms fall into this trap because we're so intrigued by learning. It's one of the reasons we homeschool in the first place: we love to learn, love to talk about learning, love to try out and tweak various methods of learning. A new curriculum is sometimes just part of the love affair.

Back in May, a friend of mine was talking about getting her book order placed (she is amazingly organized and so beautifully steers her seven children through homeschooling that it humbles me to no end.) I joked that I had enough curriculum in this house to plan out the next two or three years, but right after I said that, my summertime planning swam into focus.

So I started the plan. I haven't gotten very far, but let's not talk about that. The plan is to sort through all the books we have, decide what we can actually use in the coming year, sell or give away others, and to buy as little as possible this year.

This plan has a name: Be Realistic. The execution of the plan goes something like this: acknowledge that I love to investigate possibilities and ideas, but realize that I don't have to follow up the catalog-browsing with an actual purchase. It's okay (if completely nerdy) to think of browsing curriculum catalogs as a hobby.

"Hi, I'm Karen ... and I'm a Curricula-holic."

But I can beat this thing.


MacBeth Derham said...

The hardest thing about resisting the urge to buy curriculum is when you visit a friend the day the BIG BOX arrives. She gets to open the box, smell the fragrance of fresh book, and crack those new spines. Her children rush to see the new books, while we sit by and sip coffee, remembering the old days. Ah, angst of Autumn addictions!!

Jennifer said...

Maybe teach economics this year - ha, ha! I think your idea is wonderful. Now I'm off to visit Memoria Press - :). Perhaps you should start a support program...