My Favorite Homeschool Item(s)

Math comes easy to me.  Language Arts I feel I can sort of handle.  Catechesis is my specialty.  And science pretty much takes care of itself.  (Hyperbole much?) 

But then there's history.

History.  Oh, how I loathe history.  Well, I suppose I enjoy learning about history and love the stories and I have a good understanding of the broad overview of things.  But specifics elude me.  My mind is like a sieve when it comes to the details.  I can learn about something and within days it's forgotten.  And I hate that.  And it makes me hate teaching it.

So this, as of late, is the homeschool item for which I am most grateful:

(Not the boy...the playroom CD player in the background.  Ignore the weird TV/karaoke like feature which we can't quite figure out.  It was from the thrift store.) 

The boys will sit in here playing Legos for HOURS and listen to their Story of the World CDs.  I wouldn't doubt they know way more than I do about ancient history.  Because no matter how many times I hear the stories, if you ask me the difference between a Phoenecian and an Assyrian or who Akhemenetop is I can't tell you.  In fact, I don't think Akhemenetop is a real thing.  But they could tell you.  I'm trying to make full use of the porous gray matter in their skulls just begging to be filled with knowledge both actively and passively.  Sometimes they listen to their poetry CDs.  Or their piano CDs.  Or their Bible CDs.  Heck, I'm tempted to just make their whole curriculum next year audio based and get as much as I possibly can in CD form.  Having their hands busy with the Legos has been the perfect way to engage little boys who are completely normal and not that capable of sitting still for any length of time.  I haven't even tapped into the potential of the MP3 player's use in homeschool but I'm sure it will happen in the future.  

Can I add another?  Please?  I have to add my other favorite homeschool item here as well.  These:

Not the desks, we barely use those (but they look cute!).  See those ginormous built in shelves?  My husband built them because he rocks that way.  We designed them for this room and they have been critical in me feeling like I can house the number of books we own.  Why do we own so many books?  Because we don't go to the library.  (GASP!)  Because even the thought of the library with four little children gives me hives.  But it's hard to be a great homeschool mom when you fear the library, right?  You MUST go to the library, they say.  So every year I have grand visions of weekly library trips with a gaggle of little ducklings trailing obediently behind me as we prevue the vast shelves of literary goodness, selecting ONLY the most edifying, of course.  And every year I fail.  Because a trip to the library (at least around here...maybe others are different) involves vast amounts of sweat and chasing toddlers and missing big kids and glares from pallid middle agers and a whole lot of "no, we can't read it HERE, we're getting them to take home, but no you can't get THAT one because it's garbage and please for the love of Pete do NOT throw that book again and run and get your brother before he rubs his nose on the pallid man over there and no we can't have a snack and WHY are the books so crappy at this library and shoot HOW are we supposed to get that pile of 76 books to the car without having to leave a small child either in the car or in the library and risk more glares and a potential call to CPS??"  I'm sure your experience is much different.  Perhaps someday we'll live near the perfect library that welcomes little children, doesn't have wacked out hours, and actually has books I want my children to read.  For now, we don't.

I decided that the only way to succeed at being a homeschooling family while fearing the library would be to just create our own.  Almost all of the books we buy are used from school closings and library sales that I stocked up on years ago.  Now many are bought off of Ebay or received as gifts.  I don't want the boys to have to wait until their homebody mother has stored up the wherewithal to dare a library trip for them to have something quality to read.  (Yes, we do go sometimes if I have a bottle of wine at home.)  I'm very picky about what books come in and bonus, I don't have to worry about my children learning things they shouldn't from the book covers showcased on top of the shelves of the children's section (oh my goodness, some of those books!).  We have a science shelf, a history shelf, religion shelf, several literature shelves, a toddler shelf and shelves for all the daily lesson materials.  The upper shelves hold all the adult books, many of which we've held on to since college to make us look all learned.  Someday we'll read them again.  Or John Paul will.  They pretty much stay organized because of my yet to be diagnosed neurotic tendencies.  There is always something new to read, we've barely tapped into them.  Of course, our favorites get read and reread many times.  John Paul has learned so so many things from these books and is constantly surprising us with some of the things he knows that we've never taught him.  

So the shelves are a must for me.  And this has become one of my favorite rooms in our home.  I'm still trying to find the perfect cozy chairs and cushions for the window seats to make the room complete. The shelves help me provide for the education I want for my children by keeping all those wonderful books organized and taken care of and keeping my sanity (somewhat) in tune.  Without them and with the books I would be a wreck and it would be a disorganized nightmare.  Without them and without the books I'd actually have to leave my house and go to the (gulp) library.

 Linking on over with the Dweejanator to tell of the homeschool item we cannot live without.  Or without which we cannot live.  Fancy homeschool language.


  1. I love that you have a library. You belong on Downton Abby.

  2. I really love the way you decorate. I was just wondering how you keep those pretty curtains up with all those boys. My son would have had them on the floor already.

  3. Your home is always so beautiful and havenly. Notice how I NEVER have pics of my actual house? On purpose!

    Your book shelves are lovely and I think I will have to look into more audio stuff as the boy gets older. Having big girls first really let me cut my teeth gently on this homeschoolin' gig.

  4. hahah! Great post! Your (very acurate!) description of a trip to the library is cracking me up!! I thought I was the only one with that scenario! I'm gonna have to ask you more about the audio stuff - I am super bad with History too.
    Keep up the great writing!

  5. My kids Are still so young but from the timethey have listened to audio, I'm amazed at how much they really take in. I love that idea! Great post, thx!

  6. I hear you about history. When I bought The Story of the World I was so excited I could "relearn" all that I apparently missed in school or just never retained. Well... it must be history b/c I don't remember what we read last week! The kids remember.. so now I can't blame it on getting older , it really must be history!

  7. Yes, yes, YES to audio! Complete curriculum via audio cd, please. My three would be ecstatic!

  8. That learning room is gorgeous! Gah, I just put beige curtains up in our homework room and now that I see yours, I want white! Content much?

    Anyway, I have Story of the World on my Amazon wish list, but I didn't know there were CDs! Thank you for sharing!

  9. This is hilarious and captures my library experience to a T! We once cracked a DVD and wound up paying $36 in fines! Love that library!

    My youngest is now three, and I'm just now getting brave enough to darken the door with the whole gang. The librarians weren't sad to see me leave; I'm not sure they're happy we're returning.


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