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Highs and Lows

Well Friends, our school year has started with the usual highs and lows: our first day of school was bliss.  We usually plan a field trip for the first day to celebrate that we are doing this school thing just a little bit differently.  This year however we planned a field trip on the second day and since it just seemed so weird to just get down to work without fanfare on that first day after Labour Day, after we had done a minimal amount of work, we skipped off to the park.

We invited some friends at the last minute who were, like us, reluctant to get back to “normal” and we enjoyed a horribly rainy day which turned out perfectly.  The day was so warm that those silly kids just ran and played in the rain for most of the time but we also set ourselves up in a pavilion, started a roaring fire in the fireplace, and roasted spider dogs and s’mores.  A game of Dutch Blitz that even the mom’s got a round at and Twister for the kids, a bit of a nature walk and some identification and collection of edible wild plants.  How could anything top that?  It was at that moment that my heart was full, and I was so pleased to have had the wisdom to follow this road less travelled.

Then came day two, the day that was supposed to be our fantastic fall kick off.  We were so excited to have reserved tickets for the Creation Ministries International Home School Open House.  We’d always heard great things and were so excited to attend.  The kids were going to see the “mad science” show and Mama was looking forward to hearing Calvin Smith talk.  The displays and the shopping and the freebies…  Yummy.  It would be great.


A one and a half hour drive became a three and a half hour drive.  The roads were jammed, highways closed and the stopping and starting proved to be too much for daughter number three who threw up in the car.  (Who knew that a child could develop car sickness when they hadn’t been proned to it in the past number of years?  But this one has been challenged by long drives of late.  Sigh.)  A stop to clean up and find Gravol and a bit of water and we were delayed again.  To make matters worse this Mama has become a white knuckled driver over the years and so the stress of the traffic jams and car sickness pushed me right to my limits until I was so ragged that I finally walked in the door of the CMI warehouse and broke down and cried. 

Oh, how I wish I could turn off my emotions in public!  But there I was crying through the last half of the mad science presentation.  So disappointed, I was wondering what had made me think that I was up to the task of even driving my kids to a field trip let alone guiding them on the paths of higher learning on a day to day basis.

Yikes.  So how do I reconcile this as the journey back to that elusive “normal” that we had been missing since the summer came and chased the routine away?  Do I really want normal?  Will I ever survive the swings in my own pendulum as I hope for educational bliss and end up with car sick kids and missed field trips…

Well, those CMI folks were gracious enough to let us stay for the second session of the Open House and so after some time to collect ourselves at a local park we did our “do over” and enjoyed it much more.  Then another long but much less taxing drive homewards with stops along the way and finally we were able to crawl into our very inviting beds.

How am I going to survive 36 weeks of this!? 

Well, the days since our exhausting first days of school have been much more peaceful and I am happy to say that we are thoroughly enjoying the changes that this year’s study plan have allowed.  Lots of reading time on the couch, more trips to the park, school is starting to shape into a very enjoyable routine.  And we are all learning a lot already.

I have learned that though I had considered myself a fairly contented person I am still so easily swayed by circumstances.  The kids are learning to be patient and forgiving with their all too impatient mother.  I guess I know what will fill all of those lessons in the next 34 and a half weeks and it won’t just be the war of 1812, fishes and proper uses of punctuation.

How have your first days of school gone, Friends?  I hope that your living and learning journeys have been sweet so far.  I’m looking forward to chatting with you again through the year and sharing some of the goings on at our little place here Under the Maple Tree.  Wishing you warm and enjoyable days as we trickle in to the autumn.

Talk soon,


P.S. – I will post again soon about some of the events here in our little corner of the world.  Notably, our first Charlotte Mason Support Group meeting will be next week.  Do you want to read along with us again this year?  We will be reading Ruth Beechick’s A Biblical Home Education.  Let me know if you need a copy.  They are normally $16 but I am sharing them for $14 (tax included) so that you can save a penny or two while you join us.

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