Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Welcome Back, School Self

My school year self and my summer self are two completely different selves.

And ne'er the twain shall meet...

My summer self is all about long bike rides, easy dinners, afternoon naps, sunshine, outdoors, late nights followed by late-ish mornings, and lots of (fluff and stuff) reading.

My school year self includes making bread, getting up early and going to bed early, playing the piano and cleaning my house. Oh, and school. Teaching, supervising, correcting.

I become one with the dining room table.

(Which, incidentally, is a gorgeous, new model this year. A huge, dark finished cherry, built by the Amish.)

While I always regret the end of the hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer, and I am always excited for the new school year. Each new school year has so much potential learning wrapped up in it's genesis.

This year we are on our fifth year of comprehensive world history, and we are studying 500 AD to 1500 AD-collectively known as the Middle Ages or Medieval Period.

I'm quite surprised at how much history is actually contained in this thousand year period. And once again I am thrilled to be embarking on this new study adventure. 

Our lecture series are titled The Middle Ages, Turning Points of Medieval History, Great Minds of Medieval History, and the Story of Medieval England.

The reading lists are a good mix of contemporary and ancient writings, fiction and non, poetry and biography. I found some new (to us) authors, that I'm hoping will be readable. Especially since I've committed to reading the entire list this year. Whew! Here's what we're looking at...

Magna Carta
Norman Conquest
Canterbury Tales
Sir Gawain
War of the Roses
The Plantagenets
Robert the Bruce
Wealth & Poverty of Nations
Story of King Arthur
King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table
Robin Hood
Plutarch (*we only got halfway through last year)

There is other great fiction available on the Plantagenets and the Tudors, by Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth George, but none of it is terribly suitable for my kids' reading list. Lots of history novelized, but also lots of garbage, because they weren't the most stellar group of people.

Also new for this year is art class! I signed up all four of the offspring for a realistic drawing class. They had their first week last week, and they each loved it. My goal is to get the more artistic ones some guidance, and to expose the less artistic ones to the enjoyment of art.

All four kids are doing Spanish again this year, but we are mixing things up a bit. BMV is continuing on to level four. E & E are going back to level one. BMV has a decent grasp of Spanish. I think the other two will benefit by the review of the earlier levels.

And now for a bunch of (non-school) randomness (because if I push it off to another post, you likely won't read it for months...)

-We are settling in to our new routine. Early to bed and early to rise...

I've not gotten up before 6:00 all summer, but my alarm is now set to 5:20. For the fall months, I'm hoping to swim a couple mornings, and the other couple mornings we will run after drinking coffee (and waking up).

-We had our annual schedule evaluation and determined what was staying and what wasn't, based on the needs of and objectives for our family.

5th grade
-Elsie is still loving reading, and horses, and riding her bike. She sprouted a lot of freckles this summer. She is sweet and vinegary in turns. Can anyone say prepubescent hormones??? She has been cooking with me, which she really enjoys.

-We are hoping to volunteer at Gilda's Club, but we will not be regularly attending our support groups any more. Meredith is doing fantastically well, and we feel we have moved a bit beyond cancer survival mode. We are so very thankful about that. No cancer in her at all, for over a year! Almost 8 months past treatment! She is doing so well, as are the rest of us.

Meres got new glasses last week, because she power washed the old pair with the hose while she was watering my plants. I'm hoping this pair has a better track record.

And, also, her hair...it is so thick, and wavy, and close to 3" long. Miracle grow is what I've been applying this summer....

1st grade-she pulled the tooth yesterday-just in time for photos...

-My oldest took driver's training in August. Which means he has hours and hours of driving to rack up. We've survived over two hours of driving in the past week (hours in city driving takes much longer to accumulate than country driving. Especially when home schooling is also involved. We stay home a lot.)

sophomore-I had to stand on a bench for this head shot. Next year he is kneeling.
-The boys will be attending a Bible study this fall. Ironically enough, the Bible study began almost 20 years ago, when a couple asked my husband to disciple their teenage son. It grew over the years, even meeting in our house as newlyweds, and then my husband asked an older gentleman to help lead it. Another year or two went by and my husband stepped out of the Bible study altogether. But, how wonderful that now our boys get to benefit from this study that has been continuously going for so long! Fun fact, BMV actually attended the Bible Study way back when he was a baby and toddler. What goes around comes around...

8th grade
-Thursday nights are going to be our official "date" night. It has kind of been our date night over the past year or so, but with Gilda's Club and other commitments, we'd often miss out. Now we are making it a priority.

-We also are determined to break in our new table by showing hospitality. Planned, and spur of the moment. I've been wanting a bigger table for years so that I could fit more people around my table. Now we have it, and now we are planning to pack them in.

-We are starting a dinner club. I've also been wanting to do a dinner club for years, and it's finally going to happen. We are gathering with 3 other couples, meeting once a season. Our debut dinner will be in October. I'm quite excited!

-I loved this thought when I read it last week...

"Giving someone a book is like giving someone a piece of your soul. You may not have written it, but in reading it and experiencing it, a book has become a part of you. Passing it onto someone else is, in a way, like passing on that piece of yourself, too. Whether it be your interests, your dreams, your fears, your opinions, or your inspirations, you are giving someone so much more than paper and ink when you give them a book."

This so resonated with me. I don't give away many titles, nor do I recommend many books. I wonder if people will judge me on my book tastes? (she thinks that is funny???) Or if the book is as good as I think it is? Or will people know that it's okay chew the meat and spit out the bones? 

To like a book enough to give it away shows your vulnerabilities. At least, I think so.

-All four kids grew over the summer, but particularly the 3 youngest. Meres grew 2-1/2 inches since her well child visit in May. Elsie's jeans were an inch or two too short, the other day. And Ethan is just growing. I don't know how much, but I know it is happening.

And, on that note, I'll wrap this up. 

Happy September!