peteandbenSo we’re back from our family vacation in the Outer Banks.

We usually try to vacation right at the end of the summer, which has two purposes–we all get to eat as many Pop Tarts and cookies as we want, and it provides us with a nice break between school years. We teach the kids at home year round. That way, we can take breaks when we need them, but the grades do tend to slide into each other. Now we can say: Well, you were in fifth grade before vacation, and now you’re in sixth grade!

Not that this really helps. I keep telling them what grades they’re in, but whenever a pediatrician/distant relative/random grocery clerk asks politely, “What grade are you in?” I get the not-so-intelligent look and a long “Uh….” Which makes me look like I’m either 1) not educating them at all or else 2) Svengali-mom who insists that children look at her for permission before speaking to strangers.

At least I know what grades they’re in. Christopher (18) is starting his gap year; he’s working two jobs until Christmas, and is leaving in January to do volunteer work in South Africa and India (more on this later). Ben’s in eleventh grade; Dan is beginning seventh grade; Em is in third. Time goes by, and by, and by.

So this week we’ve been reworking everyone’s school schedules for fall. And I’ve been making lots of lists for how I want to organize my work time/family time/exercise/personal time/house duties/etc. in the coming months. I’ve been working on chronologies for the next volume of the History of the (Whole) World for a number of months now, and it’s time to start trying to figure out where the book will begin and end, and what natural divisions it will fall into. I’m trying to write a bit of fiction each week for my own mental health–because I need to work on something that doesn’t have a deadline attached to it, and because it keeps me from writing nonfiction like a textbook-compositor. (So, so easy to fall into that voice.) And I’m planning out the intermediate stage of the writing program that Peace Hill Press is publishing.

And I have a few other goals for the fall. To sleep a decent amount each night; to keep on READING and not just writing; to go walking, running, and riding (as opposed to just hunching behind my desk). And one of these days I’d really like to learn how to draw.

I love fall time. It makes me feel like I’m starting over again. I know spring is supposed to have that effect, but in Virginia, spring means that nasty sauna-like days will be arriving very shortly, which tends to squelch my joy. Fall always seems like the best time for new beginnings.

Now that I’ve written that, I realize that it’s the ultra-academic-geek perspective on life. We get to go back to SCHOOL! What fun!

Showing 14 comments
  • Christina

    I love your perspective! I think, sometimes, that if our life (can you say that, “our” and “life” together?) wasn’t so crazy, especially right now, that I would be able to get it together. And have such a good attitude toward the beginning of a new school year. As it is, it’s hard. But, I enjoy reading about others’ organization, with the hope that one day I will make it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I can’t wait to hear about C’s upcoming journeys!
    Do you write short stuff or novels? I know you have published novels before. Just curious.

  • Ulla Lauridsen

    I feel exactly the same way about the year. September is a new beginning, joy, the smell of freshly printed and bound books, the dusty smell of the library, buying supplies – all that wonderful, promising stuff.

  • Megan white

    ha ha ha! The “what grade are you in look”! My kids do the same thing. They usually answer with, “uh…. we’re home schooled.”. To which the dentist, cashier, public school parent nods their head understandingly. Sigh, as long as I know they are brilliant, I guess…

  • JFS in IL

    Sounds like someone needs a Time Turner to get through everything.

  • Alyson L

    “I love fall time. It makes me feel like Iรขโ‚ฌโ„ขm starting over again.”

    I agree! I even felt so as a child, when I was in public school. Finally I got to wear those new clothes. Now as much as then, I see fall as the beginning of the new year, new schedule, new plan. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I always figured New Year’s to be the time to do all of this stuff, but what you say makes sense. Something about all of those new school supplies makes me want to get take personal inventory and get all organized, much more so than New Year’s. Also, Urban Dad is a teacher, so we get to live this fantasy life of no one having to go to work during the summer. Him going back snaps us back into reality. Thus more personal inventory and organizing.

    I guess Fall IS a better time for all of this. What the heck. The weather is better than New Year’s.

  • Susan in TX

    Ah, may the back-to-school geeks unite! Down here out Wal-Mart starts putting out school supplies on July 5th. I sometimes feel that they do it just for me, since my birthday is July 7th and I’m highly addicted to school supplies. My children have gotten used to me singing in July, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

    Of course, every new book I get, I also tend to fan the pages and just breathe in that glorious smell. My poor children have picked up on that habit — what am I creating? ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy Fall!

  • Yabusame

    Learning to draw has been on my ‘To Do’ list for ages. One day, I’ll feel like I have the time and the breathing space to sit down and do it. I do find myself looking at things as if I were drawing them though, seeing shapes and shades in different places. If only I had more than the rudimentary skills learned as a child…

  • Vicki King

    Then there is my children. When asked, “What grade are you in?” by some innocent person, they (twins) respond, “We are in the 5th grade, but the state says we should be in 4th, but we are doing 7th grade spelling and science, and 6th grade math, and . . .” This is either both speaking at once or back and forth until the unsuspecting person looks dazed. Then I break in with “They were looking for a one word answer guys.” This confusing the kids greatly because they cannot figure out how it could be that simple!

  • Brennie

    Fall has always been my favorite time of year. But not because I was going back to school. I was a “good” student, but I didn’t really like public school at all. I think for me it’s the color and the intensity. Winter is coming and this is the last chance at green, red, orange….and breezy days that don’t require air conditioning. But one final thought. Though I am not Jewish, it is interesting to note this is the start of the Jewish new year. Our Saviour would have celebrated this time as new beginnings during his earthly journey. Maybe it’s in our DNA to feel new beginnings at this time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Alice

    As a fellow Virginian, I totally agree with you about fall being the time of new beginnings instead of spring. Spring is just a short interlude before everyone starts making remarks about “it’s not the heat but the humidity” that makes you feel so terrible. I also loved the time of getting back to school and starting fresh. Judging from the comments, homeschooling seems to attract a lot of academic-geeks.

    Also, just having had my third fall baby it’s an obvious time of new beginnings in our family.

    I hope to read more about your son’s gap year. Even though our oldest is only in 1st grade (but couldn’t tell you what grade he is in either) we have already talked about how we’d like all our kids to do a gap year. Nothing like the fun of long term planning to distract from the daily grind.

  • Bethany

    re the “what grade are you in” question– my friend had the opposite problem with her son. she had told her kids that because they homeschool, it really didn’t matter what grades they were in. so when someone asked her younger son (then 8 or 9) where he went to school, he said, “we homeschool.’ when the person then asked what grade he was in, he looked her right in the eye and said, “what did you not understand about ‘we homeschool?!’

    my son, on the other hand, would usually answer that question by saying, “that depends whether you ask me or my mom.” and my daughter will give the hemmy-hawey answer: “well, 5th-ish-6th-ish…” i have found that people, especially sunday school coordinators, tend to loathe those sorts of answers, so i have finally managed to convince my kids to say they are in 8th & 5th, period. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Susan, did a weird spin-off this evening of this post and was prompted to do so by an even weirder discovery.

    BTW, still new to the homeschool front, but thanking God every day for your work and your mom’s! Urban Kid 1 says that her favorite topic is history. =-)

  • Krissi

    hahahahahahaha-the what grades are you ? question in public. Sorry to enjoy the laugh at your expense, but your clever suppositions the guest might have-too funny!

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt