September 01, 2006

Getting back into the swing of things

The school bus rumbled by Wednesday at quarter of eight, for the first time since late June. Meanwhile, I enjoyed my cup of coffee and the thought that my three were still in bed.

On Monday the kids and I did some visiting, stopping off with a casserole and some potted plants -- a purple aster and two sunny rudbeckias -- for a recently widowed elderly neighbor. Then we headed off down the highway a way to some other friends, an older couple with no grandchildren of their own who like to borrow our three every once in a while. On our way out, we were surprised with several huge boxes of books that had belonged to their (now adult) children, including a complete set of (be still my beating heart), the 1950 edition of Olive Beaupre Miller's My Book House. I'm so glad they feel comfortable sending their family treasures home with us.

Tuesday we ran some errands, and at just about every stop there was someone who would ask the kids, "So. Are you ready for school tomorrow?" to which the kids gave an enthusiastic "No, sir!" (or ma'am). "Well, why not?" would come the follow-up. "Because we're homeschooled!" and they'd collapse in giggles.

Wednesday we hunkered down on the kitchen floor, sorting through our "official" Rubbermaid homeschool organizing system. The Pottery Barn and even Ikea basket types would shudder, but the containers are sturdy and washable and that's what counts. The kids each have a plastic shoe box for their school supplies -- pencils (regular and colored), erasers, small sharpeners, reinforcements, rulers, and so on -- and then, because we're so high tech around here, they each have a Rubbermaid dish tub for their books and other curricula (Tom has one too for his papers because when I started the system a few years ago, Davy had to have a tub too, even though he was three, because big brother and big sister had them. Well, Tom thought it was a rather handy system and hijacked Davy's tub, so I ended up getting him one of his own). The only thing I don't like is that until we build our kitchen addition with the built-in storage unit, there are no cabinet doors for the tubs to hide behind, so they live on the kitchen floor, lined up underneath the china cabinet. The finished, used up, filled out books went in one pile, the nonconsumables were passed along to the next child down the line, and things we aren't using for the moment (Minimus) went into another pile to be reshelved. Then I washed the floor to clean up after all the pencil shavings. The kitchen fall cleaning is almost done, with just the cabinet fronts and windows to wash; since we're going to be spending much more time in here, I want it to be clean and tidy.

Yesterday evening we gathered down the road for the annual Horticultural Society corn roast and pot luck, the group's traditional ending to the summer. We're not society members, but neighbors are welcomed with open arms, especially if they bring food and garden produce for the raffle, and the kids look forward to the visiting and the corn every year. And the raffle, where last night they won two big boxes of tomatoes and some beautiful rosy apples.

Tom plans to start swathing the wheat and then the barley on Saturday afternoon; the weather is supposed to hold, sunny and still unusually warm except for the odd day, through early next week. We start school, and music lessons with new teachers, on Tuesday, and I'm hoping that harvest and next week's organic certification inspection visit don't completely torpedo the first week. What I would really like is a slow, easy, and gentle return, perfect for Davy who is starting first grade and all three who've been busy making the most of the summer. I'll write another post about our back to school plans, though we've been sneaking into the French and enjoying ourselves very much.

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