April Snapshots

April is always lovely in Virginia! Trees and flowers are blooming; birds are singing.  This year, April dawned during Easter break so we had time to enjoy the weather since YMV and AHG were both on hiatus.  We celebrate the birth of #1 Son in April, and although we didn’t get to see him on his birthday, Mr. Garner made a trip up to Fairfax to watch him play Ultimate for GMU.  He is the best one on the team!

April also kicked off our third term of our Y9 homeschool studies.  The beginning of a new term usually means that The Daughter has finished a few books and is starting a few others, while plugging along with Algebra (Life of Fred), Latin (Henle I), Biology (Apologia), and History (Churchill’s The Age of Revolution).  Schweikert’s A Patriot’s History will be shelved until next year, and she will start George Washington: A Biography, by Washington Irving (the five-volume set happily abridged by Charles Neider).  Now that she’s finished Rise to Revolution by Jeff Shaara, she will begin Patrick Henry: Lion of Freedom, by Harlow Giles Unger. Because a few of her school books are particularly long, they will just continue to the end of the school year. I schedule a chapter a week in Chuck Colson’s How Now Shall We Live for a worldview read, and Rory Peterson’s Wild America for a nature/geography read along with Richard Halliburton’s Royal Road to Romance. She finished her assigned chapters in Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif, so I’m leaving that spot open to give her extra time to work on Biology homework.  She alternates a chapter a week between Van Loon’s The Arts and Lockwood’s biography of Beethoven. She finished Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man, and will start Common Sense by Thomas Paine, for Citizenship.  She completed this year’s assigned chapters in Adler’s How to Read a Book, so that spot on the schedule gets filled with R.C. Sproul’s video series Economics for Everyone, which gives me a break because Mr. Garner is the Economics instructor!  We are working our way through Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s longer poems: Courtship of Miles Standish, Song of Hiawatha and Evangeline, next we will read Tales of a Wayside Inn. The curtain has fallen on Shakespeare’s The Tempest; and rises on the hilarious She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans is planned out over a term and a half, and she will start Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, which looks daunting but will stretch out over the summer.

Whew! And that doesn’t include historical documents and speeches, the daily poems, nature journal, the written narrations…

American Heritage Girl (AHG) activities dominated our after-school and weekend calendar this month.  Somehow we fit in a day-long seminar on the United States Constitution on one Saturday, a CPR and First Aid workshop on another, and a AHG campout on yet another!  The Daughter worked very hard to plan and complete her few remaining badge requirements before the deadline mid-month and earned six badges! She will receive them in May at the Court of Awards.

In other news, Papa Gene had knee surgery on the “other” knee.  This time we all had a better idea of what to expect, and the surgery went extremely well. He amazed everyone at the hospital and at Lake Taylor Transitional Care with his speedy recovery!

Mr. Garner tilled Grandma Midge’s garden to prepare for onions, and lettuce and beans.  I caught a glimpse of a snake slithering through a nearby shrub and managed to get a picture. We like snakes as long as they are the useful sort, non-venomous and keep their distance.

We hosted our home group this month and The Daughter made a mouth-watering apple crisp for dessert, which while labor intensive (peeling and chopping), deliciously satisfied one of her Cooking Badge requirements.

Meanwhile, I finally found time to figure out the podcast function on my iphone  🙂  and discovered quite a few worthwhile programs.  After a few days of sampling rather a lot of podcasts, I culled the poorly prepared, the rambling and the overly-long-personal-conversations-that-ignore-the-audience and came up with a list of shows I liked well enough to click “subscribe.” For homeschool purposes, I find A Delectable Education well-researched and helpful. I also like The Busy Mom, Focus on the Family and The Arts of Language Podcast.  For current events I rarely miss The World and Everything In It and Breakpoint Daily.  Because of his awesome bumper music and interesting guests (when he allows them to speak) I listen in once or twice a week to The Eric Metaxas Show.

On my reading list this month: Fool’s Talk by Os Guiness, and Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.” Eudora Welty




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