We’re Home…Just in Time to Fire Up the Heater!

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We arrived home from our fun, month-long trek through the midwest and the northeast…just in time to fire up the heater. It’s been downright chilly here in Bangor. Last night, we went out to dinner to celebrate the first day of school, and got goosebumps walking from the restaurant to the car. The wind was blowing with sprinkles so tiny they made us wonder if it was really raining or if it was our imagination.

We go out for a large family dinner on the first day of school each year. Then, each child gets to tell the entire family about their first day. Max went first. He’s homeschooled but he’s technically enrolled in a fully-accredited private school in Vermont (OakMeadow.com), which specializes in distance learning. Ali and Frank “attended” the same school a couple of years ago and we were very pleased with it. We’d planned to place Max in Kindergarten this year, but when we read the information about Kindergarten, we discovered that Max already knew everything (capital letters, colors, counting to 10, shapes, etc.), with the exception of finger knitting, which teaches patience and repetition. So, we enrolled Max in first grade.

On Max’s first day of “school”, his social studies lesson involved studying the changing of the seasons. At this age, they are too young to understand how history affects how we live our lives today. But, they can understand how different people celebrate common things in their own way. So, we planted some fall flowers together (white Mums in front and red ones by the deck), and we walked through the yard, gathering things that nature provided to tell us Fall was on the way. While the red and yellow leaves on some of the trees were obvious, other things were a bit more subtle. For example, Max’s blueberries ripe and are ready to harvest just before the cold weather comes along. He found 7 blueberries that were ready to eat and picked those. The cherry tomatoes are also just ripening, along with the second batch of everbearing strawberries. Frank’s crabapple tree is heavy with fruit right now (but it’s not yet ready to eat). Max also picked some “Fall flowers” from the garden, and was thrilled when he found one ear of corn on the corn stalks he planted last Spring! While walking through the yard, we filled a kitchen bowl with “signs of Fall” and Max then made a Fall display on the mantle, including putting the Fall flowers in a vase. He can’t wait until his birthday this Saturday so he can show his friends his beautiful collection.

We also worked on his Hooked on Phonics (he’s reading short words quite quickly now) and on his writing. For arts and crafts, we made puppets out of Daddy’s socks and put on a puppet show for Mason. All in all, it was a LOT of fun. I’m in charge of working with Max on Reading/Spelling, Social Studies, Music and Art while Richard is working with him on Science and Math, though some subjects get combined depending on the subject. He does have a real teacher who we submit his assignments to and there is a curriculum we can follow (though we are permitted to get creative with it) so we don’t have to worry about forgetting something he should be learning at this stage (like telling time on a real clock instead of a digital one!).

Zach started his third year of college last week and groaned, “Boring.” However, he did have dates with two different girls yesterday, one for breakfast and one for dinner (sigh…). He was very disappointed to learn that all sports were cancelled at his college this year because of a flood in the gym. All athletics money is going toward gym repairs, not toward athletics. He had his heart set on playing golf and basketball for the school this year but will instead be playing basketball with an adult league here in town.

Matt started his third year of college yesterday but he only had one class so there wasn’t much to report, other than that he thinks that one will be “easy.” I sternly reminded Zach and Matt that they are to attend EVERY class unless they are deathly ill. I think I saw a couple of eyeballs roll when I said that (Yup, she did. -Zach). Matt has recovered very nicely from his appendectomy last month and is almost 100%!

Ali is a junior in high school now and she’s enrolled in the culinary arts program at the local community college, in addition to her basic classes. She is really going to enjoy that…and so are we. We’re hoping she has lots of homework assignments as we will be very willing taste-test subjects! She’s wanted to be a “dessert chef” for quite a few years now.

Frank started high school yesterday and he was very excited because there were so many… girls! He’s quite the lady’s man. I’ve been hearing that from teachers since his pre-school days. He’s already made a movie date with one young lady in particular this weekend. He thinks his favorite class this year will be science. He has the same Spanish teacher that Ali and Zach had. When he got to her class, she recognized his name and he replied, “Don’t worry. I’m the GOOD kid in the family.”

This week’s Maxism:

At one of the campground we visited on our last trip, Max was playing outside with his cars. When he came in, I said, “You need to wash your hands, honey. You’ve been playing in the dirt.”

He replied, “No I wasn’t. I was just digging…”

Hugs to all!

Ang

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