September! Woof. This September was the Septemberiest September I’ve ever experienced. Not only was there the normal adjustment to having regular commitments again after a slow, laid-back summer, but we adjusted to getting places at a set time again after 18 months of having pretty much none of that in our life.
Our family dived straight in right after Labor Day – my husband started an in-person executive MBA program, our 8-year-old son started soccer, our 12-year-old daughter is back to ballet and our kids have started scouts! It’s been really great but also – woof – really a lot.
We’ve had to make some adjustments along the way as we navigated how being busy feels like. We started the forest school the kids did last spring and realized we had to quit because being out of the house for a full day just wasn’t working. Our oldest initially started the fall doing Girls on the Run and then quit that when we found a ballet studio that is offering classes 100% in person. They were good changes, but I’m a bit of a stickler for following through on commitments once we make them, and I’ve had to give myself grace. We’re all figuring out this kinda-post-COVID-but-not-really world we’re living in.
So … homeschooling! Let’s chat, shall we?
I wrote in my sixth grade planning post that this year we’ll be shifting away from a block structure for my oldest and leaning into a more traditional structure with most subjects being covered most days all year. So far it’s going really well! I do definitely miss the deep-dive that blocks allow for, but feel like she’s making much more consistent progress (especially in math) now that we’re doing everything all the time.
September was all about easing into the routine, setting expectations and being consistent. It was also about really basic but critical stuff like going to bed earlier, waking up earlier and simplifying food routines.
In September, the daily work my sixth grader was working with included.
Key to Measurements (I rotate this with OM Math)
She doesn’t do all of these things every day, and some of this is done 100% independently and some is done with me. The thing we do most consistently together is History Quest because we both LOVE IT.
We are using Lavender’s Blue second grade curriculum this year and in September we did the place value block. I’ve talked ad nauseum about how Waldorf math hasn’t been a great fit for this kiddo, so I did a lot of selective picking and choosing of activities from this block and didn’t cover it in its entirety at all. I think what we did do gave him a great sense of the big-picture idea of place value and the nuts and bolts we are covering in his math curriculum.
My eight-year-old is in a real sweet spot for learning to read. He is making huge progress and his practice is not the struggle it was even at the end of last school year. So we’ve been really diligent about doing a lesson from All About Reading every day in September. He’s just about finished with Level 1 and it’s been so great for him.
The general structure of my second grader’s daily work looks like this:
Circle time with mom & sisters (this often includes active math practice like tossing bean bags while reciting times tables)
Math lesson using Dimensions math
Main lesson – in September this was a place value activity
This might look like a lot, but we keep things pretty brief and I have no problem moving on mid-lesson if his brain is getting fried. We almost always break the AAR reading lessons where they are supposed to read two stories from the readers into two days.
We have a kindergartner this year! Our baby turned five at the beginning of October and has started to express interest in learning to read. This shift happened in October so I’ll save more on that for next month’s post. But mostly our five-year-old is super happy to play on her own or sit in my lap during her brother’s lessons.
A lot of my self-care this month was focused on setting myself up with some support so I didn’t go bonkers with all of the new demands on my time. I reached out to another soccer mama to arrange some carpooling. I found a nanny to watch my kids on the Saturdays my husband is in class because I am not an awesome person to be around on day 6 of parenting without a break. I’m leaning heavily on Instacart because there is suddenly just not an hour to go to the store. I’m embracing my two younger kids spending time on iPads when their sister is in ballet and my husband is at a meeting and it’s raining outside. Anyway, it’s been a month of embracing “good enough” parenting and recognizing that these sacrifices are happening because other wonderful things are happening, like my kids being engaged in activities they love and have missed for so long.
Some other fun stuff from this month: I’ve been …
I found both The Chair and On the Verge on Netflix to be delightful. Both capture the pressure, joy and insanity of being a woman and mother right now.
I’ve always been really intrigued by Mary Anning and am enjoying Remarkable Creatures by Tracey Chevalier.
In September I made my five-year-old a basic raglan sweater. It was my third time making the pattern, so I was able to be on autopilot and just relax – it was lovely. I’ll be sitting in the car a lot this year so I foresee lots of knitting in my future.
I recently discovered this 85% dark chocolate and a square of this in the afternoons makes me very happy. Summer is always a time (for me, anyway) for relaxing and being more flexible about food, and in September I’ve been focusing on more broth, more vegetables and a well-balanced plate. Finding recipes I can make on nights when we’re out for activities is a challenge and that’s a work in progress.
Hope you all have a lovely fall, everyone!