Sunday, December 16, 2012

Letting Go... of Materials

What's Schoolin'?

Youngest went through our Math/Language shelves yesterday to see what she has outgrown and we don't need anymore.  I also went through our Montessori storage boxes.  Wow... she's close to reaching the end of what I have for her regarding manipulatives in Math.  The Language materials now only take up a little bit of space.  I actually emptied and folded up the bank boxes I use for storage for both Math and Language so now we only have what's out on the shelves for those subjects.  The few things left to do with the olders I put out on my teacher shelf (sentence analysis things).

It seems silly to be emotionally attached to teaching materials, but some of them were much harder than others to sell, lol!  The hardest for me to let go were the small wooden number cards, the teddy bear counters (oh, my sweet dc had SO much fun with those through the years, and my classroom kids before them), the relational geosolids (they filled them with rice and especially our youngest spent hours with these when she was little), and the moveable alphabet (mine was plastic) (although they didn't use these much I thought they were just so cool :) ).

I just asked asked my 17-yr-old if she would like to play with the teddy bear counters before I packed them up :).  She just smiled but she agrees that it's not just about the object but about my memories of them with the objects.  I always had it in the back of my mind that I would go back to work once the youngest was grown and we were done homeschooling.  That was another reason to keep them.  I spent a lot of personal money through my teaching career on classroom materials and books.  However, I have to be realistic and acknowledge that my health may not ever be optimal enough for such a long and grueling day to teach again. However, said I, I may teach part time or university courses again where these materials can be used with children or to show future teachers some great teaching practices.  Well, reality is something else.  Right now we need to declutter and buy other teaching materials (like buying back a copy of Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 which I sold to get Life of Fred Beginning Algebra which is not working so dd wants to go back to TT and I agree - LOF is not a match for us ~ sigh).

What's still on our shelves in Language [We are reviewing the R and D manual of Language Arts 1 because we had such a gap with last year's move and I wanted to redo before moving on.  It's actually been a good thing because the review presentations go pretty fast and I can see her advanced cognitive development from when we started it so long ago.]:

- Parts of speech 3-D shapes (I made these with air-drying clay a billion years ago)
- Little plastic 2-drawer organizer to be rotating the cards from the manual presentations
- Spelling Power Task Cards (they never use it but none of my children ever want me to sell it!)
- Tackle box with our Farm environment for labeling
- Language books like Cache of Jewels and other books by Ruth Heller
- Parts of speech cards for labeling sentences
- Little cut-up sentences for them to put in order and label with the cards (then copy in notebook and draw symbols above the words)
- Thesauruses and a dictionary (although I keep the 2 bigger dictionaries on another shelf)

I'll be putting out some ancient Spanish lotto and rhyming cards I found in our storage box and some American Sign Language cards .  I re-discovered our Learnables Book 1 in the shelf that she never chooses but she wants to do it now so I've pulled it out for her and it's on the school table.  The olders are going through Clase Divertida Level 3 and she sits in on it so she's jazzed about Spanish right now.

I've decided that (sniff) my children are growing up, we need other materials, and if I need any of this professionally again I will remake, rebuy, or make do without. [Audible sigh] I am letting go...

Here are some links to some of what I mentioned:

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