As a homeschooler, I have been excused from the annual ritual of shopping for school supplies from a published list. I've heard from friends what a joyful occasion this is for all involved -- how much fun it is to pick out brand-new notebooks, fresh #2 pencils, and so on. It sounded like a good time, something I would enjoy. I was wrong.
We shopped today for supplies for both girls for the upcoming school year, and it was a joyful occasion for no one. Too long a list. Too many choices. Too specific requests (there were no orange pocket folders to be found, at Target anyway -- why orange??). Too many unanswered questions about what the girls will really want in the end when they're sitting in class using the stuff -- and seeing what everyone else bought.
Maybe it was the rainy weather. Or my illness. Or my general distaste for shopping. But actually, I think the main problem was just how unfamiliar this all felt -- and how uncomfortable that made us all feel. I really don't remember shopping for Leslie's first couple school years in school. I know I did, but I don't remember it. And when I was a kid, we didn't buy stuff like dry-erase pens (4 regular-tip, 1 fine-tip, plus an eraser . . . !?!?), post-it notes (the mini size, whichever those are), and book covers. I've heard of book covers, but I've never seen or bought one, much less used one. I hope we can figure out how to put it on . . .
There were days homeschooling when I was absolutely certain that I was doing the best thing for my kids. And there were other days when I feared I was ruining their lives. Every homeschool mom I know says they experience the same thing. I'm sure it's quite normal. But I find it strange that my inexperience with a book cover would drive me to such depths of insecurity today. As if they are now handicapped for life because they've never used a book cover.
I just want them to enjoy school. To feel comfortable and not out of place. To make friends. And, of course, to learn stuff. It'll happen, right?