Sunday, November 08, 2009

Oy, all the (school) STUFF!

Here is one part of homeschooling that goes against my core sensibility:  you need more STUFF than you would if your child was learning in a centralized, ie school, environment.
 
For example, thinking about starting math with both of these kids, I bought - secondhand! - a small set of Cuisenaire rods, a blocks-based manipulative set that lets kids see visually how addition and subtraction work.  Fine!  One set of colourful wooden "blocks"... not a problem.
 
But while I was at the website looking at more of those (because one set is clearly Not Enough!), I came across Funtastic Frogs, these incredibly cute and educational plastic froggies.  They have logs and different sizes and colours for sorting and... whew.  Just take it from me, I'm sold.  They are Highly Educational, after all.
 
Now, if Naomi Rivka was in a regular kindergarten, they'd have stuff like this already.  Sure, she'd have to share, but they would have one or two sets of something similar for practicing sorting, and eventually she'd get her turn and learn something.
 
With homeschooling becoming more popular, I picture every house on the block having a set of these.  Is that kind of duplication really necessary?
 
So I'm torn.  Yes, it's more STUFF, and it's duplication of stuff.  But is it really more?
 
My sister, for example, keeps asking what Gavriel Zev wants for his birthday.  What if I tell her about the frogs?
 
If we request manipulatives and other curriculum-related toys for birthdays, etc., then we at least will not be junking up our house with the Polly Pockets, Hot Wheels, GI Joe and the other brands that every other house is full of.  Plus, educational toys, though they may be a bit more expensive, tend to be better-made, more solid and durable.
 
Hmm... still.  I sure wish the froggies were made of wood.  Maybe I can find something similar, something adorable... and wooden.  And then freecycle them when we're done... or throw it all in the composter if it falls apart from overuse!

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