Sunday, December 06, 2009

Two boxes: more than enough

Meredith at Like Merchant Ships recently referred to an old post of hers about how and why she keeps their holiday decorations limited to two boxes.

Consider her reasons why...and then could we consider applying the same logic to homeschool materials?

Now there are many different ways to think about that, and part of it is defining what we call "homeschool materials." The Mennonite Central Committee has an ongoing project where churches and individuals fill drawstring bags with school supplies: notebooks, pencils, a ruler and so on. It's hard to learn without having access to those most basic items. Then there are the "book basics" that most homeschoolers have, like reference books; and homeschool gadgets and gizmos, like timelines and maps, letter tiles, math rods. And beyond those, there are Books--often hundreds, sometimes even thousands of them. Some people don't even think of Books as school supplies, but for us they're basic too.

No way you're getting all that in one box.

And even if you limited the "box" to one year's worth of school for one child, you'd still probably want to store the rest for future years. Children aren't like Christmases, after all; you can use the same angel year after year, but you can't do the same math book over and over.

But the concept is still worth thinking about; and it's something I'm pondering even more during this year of being given access to extra freebies and gadgets (some of them very good and useful). It's something I have to deal with when I consider our array of well-used electric kitchen appliances--you all know how fond I am of my toaster oven, and the Crockpot is a pretty close second. What's good? What's useful? What's too much?

Many of us are blessed with a whole Treehouse to live in...but could you move your homeschooling, cooking, decorating to a tiny apartment or a trailer? What would stay, what would go? Would the kids' desire to hold on to every old toy suddenly be resolved by necessity?

What if someone came and asked you to put everything out on the front lawn for a photo? That thought's enough to make me finish this post and go clean up the living room.

Two boxes? It may not be practical in all respects...but it's worth thinking over.


Jennifer said...

I don't think I've ever commented, but have read your blog for years. I'm an AO mama, and as much as I love the idea of 2 boxes, I'm in the beginning stages of hsing. Yes, this is our 5th year using AO, but I've only got 2 currently using YR 5 and YR 3. My dd will start YR 1 in the fall and a "surprise" future AOer due in March will have me once again using our AO book collection. As much trouble as I've had collecting many of the out-of-print books, the thought of purging and having to re-purchase makes me want to shudder. I've been downsizing and de-cluttering for years, but I'm afraid my old books are off-limits for the near future.

Mama Squirrel said...

Hi Jennifer, thanks for your comment! Yes, I know, literature-based hsers do tend to have a different take on what's basic!