The beginning of September for some moms brings with it a big sigh of relief. The kids are out of the house. Suddenly there is a windfall of free time for painting or freshening up the decor, joining the church ladies for the new Bible Study, gardening or blogging. That was my life before homeschool.
Now September means putting the nose to the grindstone and diving into a new school year with The Daughter. Monday night American Heritage Girl meetings start up. Piano lessons resume. Co-ops kick back into gear and this year in addition to familiar Studio Art and Theatre classes at HomeSchoolPlus, we’ve added Physical Science and Choir at Young Musicians of Virginia. It’s hectic.
At home, we study Latin with Memoria Press and Pre-Algebra with Life of Fred and Horizon. We started what is called Year 8 (Y8) of our Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool. The Book List is largely Ambleside Online with a few additions and deletions based on suggestions from Charlotte Mason Help, as well as our personal interests.
It took me all month to get our schedule to a place that was workable with our co-op commitments. We use a 12 Week Term Schedule which lists each book, and how much to read each week, as well as goals for things like narration and various journal entries. We also use a Daily Checklist with a list of what to do each day. I am grateful to Charlotte Mason Help for the organizing concept and the templates. Like any schedule, one starts with the big rocks, in our case co-op classes, piano lessons and practice, and then fit things in from there. This year I’ve had to shift the Daily Schedule around more than usual, move bike rides to an earlier time in the day, and move the readings that require my active participation – the plays, epic poetry, and Plutarch to the mornings. I’m hoping it’s a little easier next term!
After school and on the weekends we hit the beach a few more times while the weather was still warm. In fact our Back-to-School FB picture was taken at First Landing State Park. The Daughter’s American Heritage Girl troop also had their first camp-out there at the end of the month!
Mr. Garner and I started our Morning Walks a little earlier now that we are “back to school.” We noticed the neighborhood spiders a great deal. Grass spider (Agelenopsis) webs were laying flat in the grass and along the hedge, made visible by the morning dew. Beautiful bright yellow garden spiders (Argiope aurantia) hunted in our tomatoes and our front flower border. Brown spotted orbweavers (Neoscona crucifera), spiders whose round webs were overhead around the garage, must have done a good nightly business because the webs were usually a little torn up by the time we saw them.
Sycamore trees and Crepe Myrtles feature heavily along the streets in our historic neighborhood. The Sycamores are the first to leaf out in the Spring, and the first to start dropping their leaves in the fall. Many of the trees are mature and one can occasionally catch an enormous dinner plate sized leaf as it drifts down.
Bike Nights at the Norfolk Botanical Garden continue through October and are always refreshing to the soul! The roses in their enormous rose garden catch a second wind and emit a grand crescendo of scent and bloom in September that we now know to look forward to.
The Daughter has picked up a job as part of a group of ODU piano students who play for local churches. She plays all of the service music (hymns, prelude, offertory, doxology, postlude) once a month for a small congregation of mighty souls who could not be more welcoming!
It’s not all about The Daughter, although she is my primary responsibility, we are ever mindful of #1 Son who entered his Junior year at George Mason University in August after working for Appalachia Service Project through the summer. He has finally decided on history for his degree! Mr. Garner and I could not be more proud!
Mr. Garner traveled to Middle Ridge with Papa Gene to help work on some fencing that needed repair and replacement. The Daughter and I helped Clean the Bay with American Heritage Girls and enjoyed having a Girly Weekend watching every Jane Austin movie that we own.
It was a busy, but wonderful start to a new school year!
A few pictures: