Friday, August 05, 2011

Do Homeschooler's Get New School Clothes?

Growing up we were guaranteed new clothes at least three times a year.  Christmas, birthday and just before school started.  I loved school clothes the most.  All summer I'd plan what to wear the first day.  First day was a huge deal!  It could make or break the year (at least in my mind).  I had one recurring nightmare that I showed up at school wearing one of my mom's nightgowns.  She had purple nightgown with flowers that I really thought was stylish.  In my dream, I'd show up at school thinking I had it all together and then realize I was wearing my mom's nightgown.  In the nightgown's defense, it was the latest 70's wear that looked more like the maxi-dress of today.  Perhaps, I secretly wished I could wear that cute nightie as a dress.  Now the 70's nightgown is a fashion statement and I'm free to sport the maxi-dress.  The nightmare is now reality.

Anyway, back to homeschooler's and school clothes.  Do our little students get to experience the August spending spree?

No Need To Impress

At our school, we have no need to impress fellow students.  If the kids want to wear something nice, Great!  If they want to wear a costume, Great!  If they want to wear strips with plaid, Great!  All I require is that they wear clean clothes.  Often times, they don't match, but I think they are trying out their personal style without the fear of ridicule.  What a great way to express individuality without worrying about what a classmate may say.  In my opinion, we have the coolest 8th grader, 5th grader and 3rd grader enrolled.  Whatever they wear, is what's in.  On most days it's just a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.  We really aren't up on the latest styles (What handbags are in style now?  Should I buy a pair of True Religion jeans?), but we're definitely not "wearing doilies on our heads" as one pastor describes homeschoolers.  He might know a lot about Calvinism, but not so much about homeschoolers.  Maybe one day we'll be able to introduce him to the homeschoolers of today!  Check out these homeschool moms- not a doily or a smock in sight!

Buy As Needed

During the summer, the daily attire consists of shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops.  The school attire is about the same.  I've found the kids do have growth spurts during the summer so inevitably they need new shoes come fall.  In the past, I've bought their shoes, but as they get older and the shoes are increasing in cost they're now contributing.  Our middle son saved his birthday gift cards and money to buy his latest pair of shoes.  I was really proud of him and the kids are guaranteed to wear what they've spent their hard earned money on.

These are Reebok Zigs.  I keep calling them Zips, but they are Zigs.

Watching our son save and then purchase his own shoes reminded me of my brother who saved, saved and saved for a pair of Air Jordans.  Remember those?  He saved for such a long time.  Those were the rage of the 80's.  I think he was pretty proud of his purchase too!

Some of you may be asking "Why would I make our kids purchase (or contribute to the purchase of) their shoes and/or clothing?  I've been doing this parenting gig for thirteen years now and our kids are just like most people, if they don't invest in it, they don't appreciate it.  I've bought so many clothes and shoes that end up never being worn.  I see the items on the floor or in the drawer never to be seen again until they end up in my office waiting to be resold on ebay.  Enough of that business.  They help out and they actually feel good about it!  It gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment to know they earned it.  Good life lesson!

Books over Clothing

I just completed our purchase of school books for the year.  Well, I almost completed it.  When the box arrived, I realized I forgot to buy a couple books for our daughter.  Looks like another order is in my near future.  Ordering school books is no small expenditure.  There are homeschool families who don't use curriculum and rely on the library, but we're a curriculum family.  I guess that's what happens when mom is a teacher and a bit abstract-random.  The guidelines keep me focused.

This is our VERY heavy box of School Joy!  Feels like Christmas.

Since we have to buy ALL our books and/or curriculum, I'm grateful I don't have to spend a great deal of money on school clothes.  The school books set us back enough!


In addition to purchasing school books, fall brings fall sports.  From season to season the kids grow out of soccer shoes, need shin guards, new shorts, etc.  It's nice when a younger family member can reuse shorts being passed down, but that doesn't always happen.  So every fall we're looking at purchasing new soccer shoes, shin guards, socks, shorts and this year one of the kids is trying a little football.  I'm not sure what is needed for this sport, but I'm sure shoes are a necessity.

Back to School Anticipation

With all that said, there's still a Huge part of me that hopes our kids can experience the First Day Of School excitement.  I'd lay awake the night before school started unable to sleep in anticipation.  My new clothes were laid out.  The new lunch box was purchased.  The new binder was filled with paper.  I had plans for how I'd style my hair.  The late night calls checking with friends to see what they were wearing.  I love those memories!

I hope each new school year brings excitement and anticipation of great things for our kids.  We're going to talk about school clothes.  I wonder if they even care.  We'll see what they have to say.

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