I'm packing a box of books to take to a homeschool support group meeting this weekend. I've done that lots of times before--given away extras from library sales, children's books we were done with or just didn't need. But this box is different. This week I took a look at my small shelf of how-to-homeschool books and realized that I was done with some of them.
Not ones I didn't like--these were ones that I did like. Did read. Did use. (Well, not the ones that I used so hard that nobody else would want to read past my scribbles and notes.) And when I looked at them, I realized that I'm done with them.
I have to be careful with that, because I don't mean that there's nothing else I could ever learn from those particular people. I'd love to hear some of them speak at a conference or maybe read something else by them. But somewhere along the way, I absorbed or processed what they were saying in these books; learned from it, and then branched out from it. I don't mean, either, that I'm now such an expert homeschooler that I have no more to learn. Maybe there will be some new how-to or why-to books that come along. But these particular books deserve a second or third life helping somebody else get going.
There is the book I bought at a conference when I was very pregnant with my second child, which was also the only conference I've ever been to with Mr. Fixit; we drove all the way to Mississauga (near Toronto) to hear Diana Waring speak, and buy grade one books for The Apprentice. I saw a particular book on creating curriculum and wanted it SO badly...and we bought it. And I used it. Actually that one I'm keeping...one of those notes-in-the-margins casualties.
There's also the fat everything-you-need-to-know book that I bought, new baby in tow, later that same year when I found (with amazement) that a local bookstore carried a few homeschooling titles. It's been updated since then and now comes with a CD-Rom; but maybe somebody else can still use it. It's scribble-free.
And there's a John Holt book, and How Do You Know They Know What They Know (I guess now I know), and Homeschooling for Dummies. (I got that one as part of a boxful at a rummage sale.) I already gave away my 1995 Cathy Duffy curriculum guide.
Going through them is a lot like packing away outgrown baby clothes, or giving away a tricycle because the baby is now riding a two-wheeler. Like the baby clothes, I never really thought I'd get to the point of not needing them. But the kids are getting older...and we've been homeschooling for almost a decade now. There is a point where you can stop looking at your student driver's manual, right?
Still it does bring on just a little sigh of something passing.