Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Welcome to my museum

Is it just me, or does every homeschooler set up a curriculum museum?

I have finally realized that this is the only way to describe the vast expanse of resources I'm housing on far too many shelves in our school space. I have Instructor's Guides. Workbooks. Catalogs. Manipulatives. Science kits. Notebooks. And, of course, more books than you can shake a stick at.

I have a collection of books--both fiction and nonfiction--that rivals many small town libraries at this point. I am a bibliophile by nature, and homeschooling books have become my weakest spot. I collect books on any topic of real interest--or potential interest, for that matter. I have a whole section on microscopes, and have had to subdivide my books on animals into phyla. I collect "math adventure" books because they are hard to come by. And let's not get started on historical references ... but if you ever need a good book on slavery-era folktales or on the animals France's Charles X collected, let me know.

It's kind of sinful, to be honest. I look at those books and sometimes I realize that I have forgotten that I owned something on a particular topic. Many's the day I have put a library hold on something that already graces my shelves. Sometimes I don't even realize it until the book is at home and one of the kids says, "Hey, we already have that one!"


This doesn't even begin to catalog my collection of "I'll need that eventually" resources. Books on Victorian history that are way over Jo's head. Math videos explaining advanced Calculus. A course outline for high school biology. And what about the things I know I'll (probably) come back to? The outgrown phonics readers.
Computer software for learning the alphabet. And all of those Sonlight Cores ...

The hilarious thing is that I didn't buy a very good chunk of whatI house in my collection. My cousin has been exceedingly generous over the years, and has passed on more valuable curriculum (and advice) than you can imagine. I have benefitted from multiple "going out of business" homeschoolers, too, who have passed on their stuff as their children have gone on to public school or graduated into the real world. And then there are those library sales ...

I'm putting together a curriculum swap for my homeschool group, and many of the items I just haven't used will probably find their way to the swap table. I'm also fairly free in lending out homeschool stuff, although I've reigned that in since I found that not everyone shares my idea of stewardship. But the vast library of resources on my shelves is still something I am looking at and wondering over. Is it necessary? Should I pare it down? If I do get rid of something, what's the worst that will happen when I discover I need it again? Can I live without a room lined with shelves that are brimming over with homeschooling resources?

How about you? Do you have too much of a good thing? IS there too much?


Big Red Driver said...

Oh yes...way way way more than I can ever use. I would rather buy books than basically anything. It's a sickness.

Luke said...

In our house we have computers, and I'm currently looking into netbooks (which, sadly, aren't up to par with what I want yet [pout]).

We have in our house:

Ancient laptop running Windows 98.
Three computers running XP.
Two Linux boxes.
One Tiger desktop.
One Tiger laptop.
One Vista.
One Panther.

Three people who love computers. We just can't seem to get rid of the ones that are useless to us.


Missus Wookie said...

Until recently we had a well stocked museum, then I realized that we had moved past many of the stages I'd held onto stuff for.

So we had a huge clear out, sold Sonlight cores (minus those books no one could bear to lose), donated some, passed some on and offered up resources on email lists for nominal charges plus postage.

The delicious monster library file is smaller (great for preventing duplicates) and we have SPACE on our bookshelves. :shock:

Oh - and with the money? We went to Greece :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, to have space! My tiny townhouse has no room for anything more, THANK GOD! My oldest is only 3yo, and I already have 10 things (workbooks, puzzles, teaching guides) for starting preschool at home. If I buy anything more it would have to take up precious space on MY desk, and that just won't do. Someday... When I have a house... I will indeed have a full library, but that will be a room dedicated to my vast collection I have stored in boxes right now, and it will have a nice (large) section for home schooling my children. If you ever feel like passing anything on, let me know! LOL

~ Angi :) said...

Ours is the opposite story. During the "Dark Ages" of my life experience things were so bleak as to deny my love of reading - and it impacted our household by way of lack of books I owned. A far cry from my previous bright days of owning and reading absolutely everything in sight . . .

Fast forward to my husbands' arrival in our lives. "Where are the books?" he queried.

I broke down in tears. Even though the dark ages had passed, I'd not emotionally allowed my heart the freedom to enjoy books once again.

Our library is currently a work in progress ~ and love.


Kim M. said...

If I bought all the books I WANTED, I'd be broke!

But... I just started homeschooling this year and every time I get a catalog it is dog-eared by the time I finally decide to throw it away!

I use the library for the books they can get me but for those rare treasures it's hard not find a space in the budget. I need new bookshelves!

Kindred Blessings said...

I'm laughing because I jsut sent you an e-mail about he curriculum that I'm selling (to see if you wanted anything befor I sold it).

I'm guilty of "forgetting" about the books I own too.