Monday, July 20, 2009

I Hate Shopping, Part Deux

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?


Meredith said...

I remember when we covered our books with paper shopping bags!! It's funny, I had some fleeting thoughts about school supply lists as I am trying to go into teaching. Like, does it really matter if you have a looseleaf notebook or a regular notebook?? Or how some teachers insist on having ONE notebook for each subject rather than the 3-5 subjects. Now, I am an organized person, and I'd be picky about this stuff for MYSELF, but the kids don't care! It is their responsibility to do what works for them and get the work done in the end. That is pretty crazy about the orange pocket folder and the mini post-its...

Anonymous said...

I am really laughing at this... not at the frustration you faced but out of familiarization. I go through this each year.

It really ticks me off when the schools put something on the list which doesn't match, by name, items I can find in the stores. (e.g. felt tip markers - you can't find anything called that anymore) It irritates me when they ask for 5 folders, with pockets, and metal tabs (or whatever they call it), 1 red, 1 blue, 1 green, 1 yellow, and 1 orange.

WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!!

Then I get downright irate when I find out that this was not the list that the teacher actually wanted you to get. Instead it is the "generic" list for all kids and you might or might not need it.

Now I am getting murderously mad!

Calm down, Dave. Deep breaths. It will be ok. Go home and watch some TV and relax.

GJK said...

Oooooh. Now if I find out that this was some generic list and she didn't need all this crap . . . ooooooh. I'll be livid.