As usual, I'm late to mentally recapping our school year, and also pleasantly surprised as I sit here looking back on the past academic year -- as I first observed several years ago, "We didn't do everything, but we didn't do nothing!" My first inclination tends toward a sense of failure at the "check marks" we didn't attain to, and it's a constant battle within myself to step away from judging myself too harshly in this regard.
Our book club with other homeschoolers continued to be a highlight of the year-- this year, featuring Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, Hans Brinker by Mary Mapes Dodge, and Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting. We paddled small boats around a pond, made paper windmills, went to a zoo, and as always, ate plenty of thematic yummy foods.
Another highlight of the year was continuing our weekly hikes with friends. We live in a beautiful place, and it's always good to walk out the door and go exploring.
Nell finished fifth grade. We read lots of good books, many together and some she read on her own. She looked at great art, particularly enjoying Van Gogh and John Singer Sargent. She made a deep connection with the historical figures of both Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan. We read part of Richard Halliburton's Book of Marvels and absolutely loved it. She started keeping a Book of Centuries. She participated in a wonderful Shakespeare club, reading A Midsummer Night's Dream and performing a scene from it, and then reading Henry V, and memorizing the Crispin's Day monologue. She loves calligraphy and hand-lettering. We read some wonderful science books, including a collection of general science and nature stories and a more specific book on anatomy. A friend from church led a group of girls in weekly quilting sessions, and Nell made both a small wall hanging size quilt and a quilted pillowcase. She continued her violin practice, and although I'm never as consistent with her as I want to be, she's currently working on the Bach "double," the Concerto for two violins, and I know it'll be such a deep pleasure to be playing it with her before long. She's also been practicing the piano, with the occasional impromptu lesson from me, and has continued singing in our church choir, as well (she sang the solo for Once in Royal David's City for the second time this year at our church's Lessons and Carols, and also sang a small solo in Wash Me Throughly by Samuel Wesley). She still loves ballet, and was in her ballet school's performance of The Nutcracker this past December as a cherub and a lamb.
|Here's Nell, age 11, with books representing our school year as well as just a few favorites she read for fun. (Thursday's Child!)
|Marie, age 9, with books representing our school year, and some favorite fun ones, too.
|And Molly! Age six, and "clever as clever," as the A.A. Milne poem goes.
This post barely touches on the full year we've had, but it's nice to look back and see that we really did accomplish something, I think. And now, back to my efforts of planning our next school year, which begins in just over a week...! Building on our highlights of the year I mentioned above, we're leaning into all the good that friendship and community have to offer, and together with a number of like-minded mothers implementing a Charlotte Mason philosophy of education in their homeschools, we are starting a two-day-a-week school. It's a lot to wrap our heads around, and we're going to have to get a little better at getting up early in the morning, but we are really excited about the possibilities it will offer. Here's hoping it's a beautiful and rich experience for the ten families and their 35 children, collectively.