August 12, 2008

Summer is Just Starting

Yes the back to school aisle is brimming, I am planning fall field trips and sports activities for the fall and many parents are counting down the days until September 2nd here but for us it feels as if summer is just starting.

Ciaran's cast has now been on for five weeks, that is five long weeks of no swimming, water ballons, sprinklers, sports and the many things that make up our summer. It feels to us like late June so we are just about ready to get started.

Ciaran has adjusted to life with a cast amazingly well. He broke his left arm, bummer for him he is a lefty. Still he learned how to play wii (and beat us all still) right handed. He can use his cast hand very well and he even began bike riding again but only on days there is not a chance of being caught in the rain and only on pretty flat level surfaces.

Next week this huge plaster cast can come off and hopefully be replaced with a smaller waterproof cast to finish out the summer. Then I think we will simply live at the pool and beach until they kick us out! The way I see it summer arrived about 2 weeks late this year so we should get an extra two weeks on the tail end, hopefully with enough warmth that this can really be the middle point of our summer. That should put us on track to start school seriously in the last week of September. Have to say I love the flexibility of homeschooling.

This week we went for bike rides, nature hikes, visits to the arboretum, played at local playgrounds, soccer, basketball and catches in the yard - we jut finally got outside. That is not to say our Wii was lonely or we didn't spend some time watching the Olympics just that we are finally venturing outside with a bit more consistency.

We also got back into the swing of service projects with a return to Feed My Starving children, our typical monthly service project. The kids spirits are always a bit calmer after reflecting on packaging meals for 16 children for a year or saving their allowance money to donate to pay for 40 meals. Service has been an important part of our family and I am glad to see us all serving together again after a more sporadic few months since my surgery.

The pain is still there every day. It is strange to have not had a pain free day in almost a year - but at least the pain is manageable and much less intense than it was. Maybe someday it will go away but at least we are getting back into habits we love and doing more.

We have all grown substantially in the past year and it is interesting to see where we are on the other side of things. Rhiannon is 9 now and Sirah is turning 5 next week but much more than their ages they have grown, as has Ciaran. Now is the time for some fun and some genuine relaxation before the rush of fall is upon us.

This year we will start our regular activities mid September with homeschool coop, Awana, horseback riding, an elections cooperative class I am leading and possibly soccer for Sirah. We will ramp up our campaigning mostly in the month of October as we study government and learn about the election process. I plan to start math and language arts mid September and add the rest in by October, taking plenty of time to enjoy the end of summer and the precious few weeks of Minnesota fall.

I have a rough sketch of the year in the back of my mind but have not yet sat down to plan out the actual coursework or my strategy, yet I am not worried knowing it will all come together easily. My only hole still left in curriculum is science as I haven't made a decision about the approach or material I want to study yet. This year grade level work will approximately be Rhiannon - 4th, Ciaran - 2nd and Sirah would be in kindergarten but we will see how her interest is. If she shows interest we will focus on learning to read, basic math skills and improving her handwriting.

Now back to summer and counting down the days until the cast comes off. Please pray for a positive result and a nice waterproof cast!

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