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“Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.” – Dr. Seuss

It’s that time of year again: Back, back, back to school… 6th grade, 4th grade, and pre-K to be exact.

We keep a quasi year-round school schedule, not abandoning studies entirely during summer– but come tomorrow we’re sharpening the pencils and hitting the books in earnest, returning to our regular school rhythms and routine. We’re making a concerted effort to streamline, in defense of our sanity and anticipation of autumn guests and potential travel. Last year it took a bit of a meltdown to recognize we’d become over-extended, never-at-home-schoolers and adjust accordingly.

Squadgoals for the 2016-7 school year:

Firstborn is technically now a middle-schooler ((what??)) who just lost her last tooth, and though we seriously considered enrolling her full-time in traditional classes at the school where she and Center Sister have taken supplemental electives for the last couple of years, we’ve decided instead to keep her core studies at home another year. I plan to take a tiny step back and encourage more self-direction/motivation/reliance from my oldest, focusing on good habits and personal responsibility.

last lost tooth celebration

working on independence, she made this cake 100% herself. if I had a nickel for every time I’ve said “you’re eleven…”

Center Sister has plans to learn a second instrument and is also randomly teaching herself French (I don’t even know… likely a result of her fascination with Marie Antoinette). She remains a voracious writer, I plan to encourage that passion by purchasing stock in the mountains of notebooks she’s constantly filling with original prose.

after exhausting all free online resources she purchased CD’s with French tutorials and has been diligent in practicing

her recent library haul

Little Man is excited to be the first of my kiddos to attend a formal preschool. We realized that aside from weekly speech therapy appointments we rarely do anything just for him –he’s forever drug hither and yon for his sisters’ activities– so we are hopeful that this will bless him, boosting his confidence and bolstering his social skills via play-based cooperation with peers his own age.

bestie Courtney reminded me that even third children need to play candyland

What really sealed the pre-K deal was the fact that he’ll be attending alongside two pals also adopted from China, plus another from an Asian-American family… that’s right, we’re paying for diversity. Frankly, it’s important for him to be around folks with similar features, here in Montana one must seek that out intentionally. It’s important to us that he cultivate pride in his heritage and a confident racial identity.

a’s for days

Overall, we plan to keep our loose, organic Charlotte Mason approach with lots of nature, loads of literature, and a focus on forming good habits as life-long learners.

We plan to read through the entire Bible aloud together, keep a standing weekly library date, and now that we bookworms have finished Harry Potter we’ll complete the long queue of books we already own prior to diving into the next big series: The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings… That’s what I’m Tolkien about! ((snort)) I’ve stolen adopted the library’s helpful summer reading program template for book summaries, to aid in reading comprehension.

With fewer regular commitments and hopefully more margin, I aspire to host a couple simple homeschool socials along the lines of book reports, spelling/geography bees, or heritage studies.

We resolve to be more diligent with daily mathematics, to wrap up last year’s Anatomy curriculum and begin either Botany or Zoology (always Apologia, always), and after completing our summer study of US states and geography (we only need nine more states!) embark upon formal US history, memorizing the presidents and likely breaking for a more thorough Montana history unit, then backing up in time to begin the second installment of the Mystery of History.

The girls will continue participating in their 4-H club horse club, pet-sit as needed and tend to our own colorful menagerie, and all three kids will memorize scripture, socialize, and run around like wild banshees at their weekly Awanas clubs (aka Date Night!).

It’s been a pretty ideal summer (see our summer scrapbook), but we are ready for fall.

“As is the education of our youth, so from generation to generation will be the fortune of the state.” -Isocrates

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