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Retired home schoolers-what to do with the STUFF?


Catherine
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I am an infrequent visitor to the boards these days.  My youngest is finishing high school this spring and he attended a brick and mortal school-not my choice, but in fact it was a great fit for him and has worked out well.  FYI he attended a Bard High School Early College and if you have any interest in learning about the Bard schools, please PM me.  I am a huge fan!

My purpose in writing this post is to find out how you all have handled the books, papers, and ephemera you have left, when you are finished home schooling.  I freely admit to being, not a packrat exactly, but too sentimental for my own good about the books we read together, the papers with scrawled first sentences, etc.  I have a vague idea of culling a few representative pages from each stage, with each kid, and parting with the rest, which honestly is mostly trash at this point.  

Please tell me how you've handled this stage.  

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We did this when we had stopped homeschooling and knew we were planning to move. No need to take things to the new house that we no longer needed.

DH and I went through everything and pulled out some representative pieces. It was hard, and I needed both his help sorting and the emotional help. I bought a large Better Binder from Staples for each child and put dividers in for each year, then hole punched or put things in plastic sleeves. DD17 has the most stuff, because she produced more when she was younger and also homeschooled through 8th (the others transitioned to school earlier). We couldn't fit it all in one binder for her, so I still have a tub of her things, I think.

They still collect papers while in public school. I sort and save some throughout the year, then put those in the binder at the end of the year, as well.

My idea is that each year i will go through the binders and pull more things out, until we only have enough left to fill one binder from preschool through graduation. However, realistically, they may each end up with two binders.

DH took loads of books to Half Price Books, and they generally would keep the whole box. Things that we didn't think would sell there, we gave to Good Will. I know we could have sold them ourselves and made more money, but I didn't have the time or inclination, so I comforted myself with thinking that we were blessing other homeschoolers who would be thrilled to find bargains at the thrift store.

We kept a few more things than you probably will, because my kids are still in school. I emptied old binders and kept the binders for them to reuse. We tore used pages out of spiral notebooks and kept the notebooks to finish up as scrap paper or if they needed a smaller notebook for a class. The reality is that I have a bookshelf full of these things that don't get utilized much, and I will one day no doubt just get rid of the remainder.

We planned to burn the papers in our fire pit, but we found that they made clouds of terrible black smoke, so we threw them away after all. Perhaps burning would work better if only doing a small amount at a time, but we didn't have time for that. And our fire pit was on our patio. Someone who can burn things further from the house might not mind the smoke. But it also didn't seem environmentally friendly (or neighborly) to me when we tried.

I threw out or donated all odd pencils and only kept yellow Ticonderogas and found I have a large box full now. That's what happens when you have four kids who mysteriously lose pencils and then later find them when you are moving. We also have a box of pens and markers. We scribbled with each one and threw out the ones that didn't work. We also have a box of crayons. Also sorted out the poor ones and kept the best. Each of these boxes is 9x13. The sorting was a pain and took a long time, but I am glad to have it done it.

Miscelleanous non-book and non-paper items that we no longer wanted, I gave to Good Will.

I kept a large box of preschool educational toys that were higher quality.

Because we were moving, we also culled my personal children's book collection until what is left fits in the built-in shelves at our new house. No more random bookshelves in my basement. Okay, we have two down there. One for the binders, etc. The other for DVDs, because we watch movies down there.

I could take another stab at minimizing more, because I did save more than I needed to. I tried to get rid of everything that we knew we would never use again. The useful things that I saved will not all be used again, but I didn't want to have to rebuy.

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I consider myself a minimalist in many areas including books, but I do keep precious items.

I have an under the bed storage container with folders of my dc's work. I only keep paper items that fit into that container. It holds quite a bit including scripts of plays and the books they were based on that my daughter toured elementary schools performing. Perhaps limiting the space will help?

Involve your dc. My dc keep their favorite books and CDs in their bedroom bookcases. I keep my favorites which includes Five in a Row books and curriculum. I keep some Christian curriculum and books for future grandchildren as they tend to go out of print.  

My daughter has one year left of high school. I've been giving curriculum to friends as we finish it. It's great to bless others! I used to buy used and from Goodwill so that can be a blessing too. 

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1 hour ago, Catherine said:

I am an infrequent visitor to the boards these days.  My youngest is finishing high school this spring and he attended a brick and mortal school-not my choice, but in fact it was a great fit for him and has worked out well.  FYI he attended a Bard High School Early College and if you have any interest in learning about the Bard schools, please PM me.  I am a huge fan!

My purpose in writing this post is to find out how you all have handled the books, papers, and ephemera you have left, when you are finished home schooling.  I freely admit to being, not a packrat exactly, but too sentimental for my own good about the books we read together, the papers with scrawled first sentences, etc.  I have a vague idea of culling a few representative pages from each stage, with each kid, and parting with the rest, which honestly is mostly trash at this point.  

Please tell me how you've handled this stage.  

 

No advice, but I wanted to say that I went to Bard College at Simon's Rock twenty (😱) years ago! I'm also a huge fan of their options! 🙂 

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This is such a problem for me.

I feel like I have assembled a curated library of really good books, and I hate to break it up.  I keep picking away at it, but it’s taking far too long and far too many iterations.  

Regarding papers, I keep a few creative ones and that is about it.

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Didn’t really keep anything. It helped that we moved when oldest was in high school and next oldest decided to go to public school.

I kept the preschool toys because we were fostering & I now have a younger set of kids and teach preschool too.

But I only kept a handful of papers from them growing up and our FIAR project binders 🙂

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I retired from elementary homeschool and downsized by 50% for a cross country move last summer.  I donated my huge library of thousands of books to my local homeschool group's park day.  I posted ahead of time and told everyone to bring something to carry things in and let them have at it.  There was one small box of books left.

I saved 3 shelves of children's books for the two 7ft. X 3 ft. bookcases I kept.  One shelf is 3 ring binders full of saved completed assignments. I suspect that will be culled more when I'm fully retired.

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57 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

I retired from elementary homeschool and downsized by 50% for a cross country move last summer.  I donated my huge library of thousands of books to my local homeschool group's park day.  I posted ahead of time and told everyone to bring something to carry things in and let them have at it.  There was one small box of books left.

 

I did that too- filled my 12 passenger van twice with books to give away, it was a lot of fun to see everyone claiming what they wanted 🙂

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1 minute ago, Hilltopmom said:

I did that too- filled my 12 passenger van twice with books to give away, it was a lot of fun to see everyone claiming what they wanted 🙂

Yes, I had a great time watching new homeschoolers get excited about Egyptian hieroglyphics stamps and nature science books and such.  I knew they were going to be used while being budget friendly.

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Okay, I haven't read all of the replies but thought I'd jump in with my .02. I have hardly kept anything from my 15 years of homeschooling. When my kids outgrew books, I saved some of our favorites to read with grandchildren if I ever have any. I sold some. I donated the rest. I tossed all schoolwork papers from the lower grades. I did keep high school stuff at first because my ds wanted me to, but once my two youngest were in college, I realized I had no reason to hang on to any of that stuff. My kids certainly aren't sentimental about schoolwork. They preferred our unschooling years not the years we did actual scheduled subjects. I can't imagine there will ever be a time in my life I'll want to open a box and look at an algebra paper or essay to reminisce. It all seems like a lifetime ago. Two years ago, ds realized he would never want his high school stuff so we threw it all out. What we're left with is pictures of fun times we had together. That's all I really need. I kept very few things like a picture of a turkey made with a handprint, or a coloring paper of a footprint. I have a couple of poems the kids wrote which are funny and will serve as blackmail when they're married and have kids of their own. I've been a retired homeschooler for 4 years. I am happy for the memories we made. That's what the kids like too. 

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