Saturday, August 05, 2006

College Shopping Mania, Part 2

We're back from making the rounds at Linens 'n Things and The Container Store, as well as making a stop at the USC Store at South Coast Plaza. We now have most of the dorm essentials rounded up, excepting a desk lamp and a fan.

'tis the season, and many newspapers are publishing articles on off-to-college shopping. The Associated Press has published suggestions on what students should take, leave at home, and buy once they're at college.

The Baltimore Sun gave us a good tip on a site which sells many dorm room necessities, Dorm Buys.

Another article suggests that parents don't think enough in advance about what it will be like to have their student living away at college.

Yeah, right.


Blogger jau said...

My daughter is already thinking about it about her 2-year-old. It's a huge wrench, isn't it? Sounds like you're having fun with it, too, though. Hope so!

6:56 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Yes, I'm more excited about this than sad, although we're going to miss her bunches! It's going to be a big change for all of us. Considering how far away some of the colleges were that accepted her, half an hour's not so bad. :)

A positive is that communication is sure more affordable than when I went to college and there were only letters and very expensive long distance calls. Thank goodness for email, digital photos, text messages, and cell phones with free long distance plans!

Best wishes, Laura

9:43 AM  
Blogger jau said...

Oh, yes, I remember getting called for "LD" calls that cost so much you could only talk for a few minutes. As for distance, my daughter wanted to go to college far enough away that we could come and go in one day but not so easily that we'd do it often. She'd have been horrified at a half-hour, then, but I suspect things will be quite different when her own daughter goes off. Ah, it's so wonderful to live long enough for your daughter to have a child!

Best to you too, Anne

9:50 AM  
Blogger jau said...

P.S. I just realized that you're a "homeschooling mom". Did you homeschool this off-to-college daughter? I'd love to know more about that. Have you written / talked about it on the blog, or anywhere?

9:57 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Anne, My oldest is the only one who wasn't homeschooled. (Although you might call some of the reading and "excursions" we've taken "supplemental homeschooling," grin...I basically homeschooled her in English in jr. high due to the ineptitude of her teachers...) We started out pretty happy with our local public elementary school, but it declined in quality over the years, and some of her iffy academic and social experiences as she continued in school, along with unhappiness at what the next two children in line were experiencing, led us to investigate homeschooling. I was also increasingly troubled by the lack of say-so we had in our children's education. It didn't make sense to me to put them under the control of people we didn't respect much and who didn't have their best interests at heart...this was brought home to us when our son began to struggle with writing in 4th grade and the principal and teacher shrugged it off. (The principal infamously said "Sink or swim," I kid you not!)

We sent our No. 2 child, my oldest son, to a small private school for 2-1/2 years, which we were quite happy with, but it wasn't a practical long-term solution for financial reasons. While he was there I began homeschooling the younger two, kind of easing into it, then added him in when he reached middle school age.

Our daughter wanted to continue in public high school school and finish it out, though it posed some challenges (some pretty awful teachers mixed with some really excellent teachers), and since she did well academically, we went ahead and followed that route with her.

Like many homeschoolers, we're debating what to do when our son reaches high school age. (He's actually doing a cross of 8th and 9th grade work right now...some of his work is high school level.) There are more options all the time for homeschooling in high school years, and colleges seem to increasingly welcome and seek out homeschoolers, but some of the subject matter gets pretty difficult at that point. History and English are absolutely no problem (grin), but we'll see how this year's Algebra goes, LOL.

A wordy answer, sorry! :) I've alluded from time to time on the blog about our homeschooling experiences, but not on an especially regular basis. If you "search this blog" for "homeschooling" you will find some of my posts, if you're interested. Best wishes, Laura

10:18 AM  
Blogger jau said...

Thanks for the details. I find it fascinating because I loved school myself (in the Iron Age) and my daughter did too, but my son - although he did very well - would have benefited from something other than public high school, I think, in that he's smart as can be but no longer reads at all. And although I guess homeschooling got underway in large part for political and/or religious reasons, the academic issues are just as (or more?) important. I'd worry about socialization - oh, that old saw - and the limitations of exposure mainly to just a few adults, but maybe there's a balance to consider.

I shall explore your posts and, no doubt, ask more questions. Assuming you don't mind, that is.

Thanks again!

12:13 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm always happy to answer questions! Like you, my own overall school experience (in this very district) was positive -- with some caveats -- but things have changed over the years... As with anything, there are pros and cons to both school and homeschooling, but we got to the point where the scale weighed much more heavily in favor of homeschooling.

Socialization is indeed an old saw (big grin), perhaps the most common issue raised about homeschooling. Social activities for homeschoolers are very available, they're simply different from what many of us are "used" to from our own days attending school. (In fact, our elementary principal cutting out most of the neat "social" activities was one of a number of things that led to our unhappiness -- she ditched plays, holiday parties, art lessons, recesses, and more because of her emphasis on preparation for testing.) We have a neat group of local homeschoolers who meet regularly for various events including park picnics, field trips, holiday parties, and "P.E." at the skating rink. Last month another mother taught my 11-year-old daughter to cross-stitch...I have an invite to a summer pool party in my email box I haven't yet answered. Etc.

In addition to our local group, my cousin began homeschooling around the same time and we have had fun "reconnecting" and spending more time together on field trips. (Two of my closest friends -- who unfortunately don't live locally -- preceded me as homeschoolers.) And then there's always AYSO soccer, Little League, Girl Scouts, and church...lots of opportunities to spend time with other children and adults alike.

When it comes to education, our philosophy is that we're evaluating how to educate our children a year at a time, a child at a time. They're all very different, and while the flexibility of homeschooling is a big plus in that regard, we're assessing year by year, with a lot of prayer, how to best meet their needs.

It's a subject I enjoy discussing so feel free to ask away in future!

Best wishes, Laura

12:33 PM  

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