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Braces and First Days of School - Collage Friday


We started school Wednesday.

I'd like to say it was a ceremonious day, but it wasn't.

It was a dreary, rainy day. Anna was still a bit sore and crabby from her braces going on Monday, and I had a massive headache.

I'm not calling it our official first day of school - I'm just saying now that we're "easing" into school and when Classical Conversations starts in a couple of weeks we'll have a big celebration.

What I do love, however, is that my children were happy to be back into a routine and we have accomplished a lot of schoolwork in just a few days this week.

I have a good idea of what our year might look like, and I've spent more time thinking about schedule, gathering resources, and wrapping my head around the fact that I have a full fledged middle grades child. {This takes some adjusting to - can you relate?}

A New (to us) Library

After our first day of learning on Wednesday we visited a library just down the street from where our Classical Conversations community will meet. 

You would have thought we walked into a candy store. We spent over an hour just looking through books and getting to know where everything is. 

It struck me that our life is so much more relaxed than it used to be. Here it was 2:00 on a Wednesday afternoon and we were simply browsing the library and then going to get yogurt afterwards.

There are moments when it just hits me that my children are living a life that is pretty wonderful. 



Back to the library:

Grant was most excited because they had a ton of Matt Christopher books. He loves all of the baseball books, and this library had them all organized so nicely. Grant checked out a Matt Christopher Baseball Jokes and Riddles book that is perfect for him! 

This and That

My goal this week was to get both kids going on their math programs, do some reading aloud, and just get somewhat in the groove again.

(Did you see my vlog about math this week? I am 100% sold on Saxon math.)

Anna has some homework that needs to be completed for her first day of Classical Conversations Challenge A. We looked at everything, organized her binders and supplies, and put forth a plan for the next two weeks.

I also wanted to just let the kids create, explore, and spend time with things that hold meaning for each of them. While we have a mostly Classical philosophy in our homeschool, there is a little part of me that will also love Charlotte Mason and another part of me that is a closet unschooler.


The Pictures (starting in the center and then moving clockwise from top left):

the downstairs homeschool area (also my music room) early morning first day of school

keeping records with Homeschool Minder - love this program!

Anna made loads of Sculpey creations

Geomaster is a great app - it gets played daily at our house

Grant was happy to see his Spelling Workout book again - another favorite here

Saxon 8/7 Lesson 1 using Saxon Teacher - a success!

Grant pulled out Pick and Draw and played a lot this week

Anna's Code of Conduct for Challenge A - lots of Bible verses and goals to look up and contemplate

Grant playing with his LEGO Storystarter set

"PE" was playing basketball one day

Grant reading The Catcher With the Glass Arm

organizing baseball cards - he's a bit fanatical about the alphabetical order of the cards

playing the Chimalong - love this little beginner instrument


I think Anna did pretty well with her braces.

She's a pretty tough kid and doesn't complain much. Between Advil and some of her favorite soft foods I think she was a trooper.

All of the public school kids were frantically scheduled in for appointments with the orthodontist the day Anna got her braces. The chit chat in the waiting room was all about orientations, the poor policies of public schools, and just a general angst about school starting.

I simply listened and was thankful to be rid of those worries.

I always feel this way when regular school starts - it's like a huge affirmation of our decision to homeschool once a year.


I made her favorite dinner Tuesday night - Crockpot Style Loaded Baked Potato Soup. This is such an easy meal and everyone in my family loves it. 

We also had ravioli, smoothies, and pancakes. 

SQUILT Volume 2: Classical Era 

My goal for this month is to finish SQUILT Volume 2: Classical Era. I've been trying out some lessons with the kids and finalizing everything in my mind.  

It can either be used alone, or can be a perfect follow up to Volume 1: Baroque Composers.

Have you used SQUILT in your homeschool?

I've designed this program to be EASY, effective, and affordable. My mission is to bring quality music to children and make it easy for parents with little or no musical knowledge to teach their children about that music, too.


Notebooking Sales Event

The Notebooking Pages sales event only lasts for one more week. You can receive a $15 discount on your membership and some other goodies, too. 

Notebooking Pages is one of our very favorite resources - a GOOD investment. 


That's all for this week. Next week is still relatively quiet - our last week before children's choir, piano, baseball, and Classical Conversations starts up again. We have a fun field trip planned and hopefully lots of swimming, too. 

** Please join me for Collage Friday! Share your photo collages from your homeschool week. I will delete any links that do not contain photo collages.

Grab a button from my sidebar, or text link back to this post in some way. 

Visit other bloggers in the link-up to gain ideas and offer support. Our community is a wonderful way to make friends, educate ourselves, and see we are not alone in our struggles! 




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Reader Comments (21)

It's funny to read your post about going back to school when we don't officially take a proper break until September (due to hubby's work). I enjoyed reading your post: the quiet confidence of a family sure in their choices. It was very peaceful to read.

It's wonderful to read about how full your week has been, despite your not officially starting yet. Looks like there are many good things to look forward to for your children with Classical Conversations. I look forward to reading more about your experience with them.

August 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHwee

After our vacation we are getting back into a routine with our kick off day being Aug. 28th. I am still planning our not back to school day. I have to use the week in between getting back and beginning to complete Grace's binder and finalize our schedule. I have our outside activities done. Now I have to look at our blocks of home time and figure out what I want to do and on which days. I have never thought like this before but so much of our learning is going to happen out of the home, I need to be intentional with our time in the home this year!

I am looking forward to seeing how your year develops.

Glad Anna is adjusting well. My two know EXACTLY how she feels!

August 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJess

Shaking my head in agreement all the way through - our children leading a good life (prompted by thoughts of the new library), back to school time and more. Love the braces!! And how exciting about the 2nd volume of SQUILT!!

August 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

Thank you so much for hosting CF...I so enjoyed rdg abt your week! Good luck with the start of school!

God bless!

August 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I know what you mean about your days being more relaxed and how you feel you have a different lifestyle as the parents at the doctor's office. I always think it is easier and better to gradually ease into a new school year.

If I actually do something ceremonious this year, I'll be the first time ever! We, too, usually ease in. This year, since we're starting so much later than usual, I think I will try to do SOMETHING!

August 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJamie {See Jamie Blog}

It sounds like it was a nice way to ease into school for the year. We eased more than I had planned, but I love how we can adjust our schedule as needs be.

Thanks for the soup recipe, I LOVE Plan to Eat, it was so easy to save the recipe. Given Amber's love of baked potato soup, I'm sure we will get good use from this recipe.

Have a good weekend!

August 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

I loved reading your appreciation of homeschooling, Mary. Your writing left me uplifted! We are so blessed, aren't we?

Thank you so much, as ever, for being our wonderful host :-)


There might have been a few snags, but I think you're first days went pretty good! There's always something to be tweaked and rethought, but there was also so much accomplished! We're not starting back until 9/4 when my oldest head off to public school for the first time (for 9th grade). It'll be strange to keep a "public school schedule"! No more taking off in the middle of the week! But it's a good opportunity for him just the same as it's a STEM school. Anyway, if it's not raining, we might celebrate our first day back with Chinese Take-out at the lake. Quite a combo! LOL

August 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJessy

Have I told you lately how much inspiration I glean from your homeschooling wrap ups? Well, if I haven't, let me just summerize in two of my favorite words:

You ROCK!!! ;0)

August 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWonder Mom

We are still getting up to full steam too. Brace ~ My dd gets round two in a few weeks. I hope her moth is feeling better soon. I know those first few days are rough. Yes, we feel so blessed to homeschool when we listen to those around us talk about the public schools.
blessings, Dwn

August 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

So nice to read about your week, Mary! I don't have a collage Friday this week. I plan to next week, though!

August 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGena

We finally did our first lesson in SQUILT volume 1. My 4 yr old son asked to listen to Pachelbel's Canon 5 times! He drew and talked about dynamics and was actually more into it than his 6 yr old sister:) Can't wait until next week for lesson 2.

August 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthegirlwhopaintedtrees

Our dentist keeps gently prodding me to take my daughter in for an ortho evaluation. I have been dragging my feet since she only just turned 9 this May and seems so young for that (I was close to 12 when I got braces, and my DH had braces in high school!). I suppose I should at least take her to "see what they say".

We're not starting school until September this year (at the same time the public schools start). We still have VBS at church next week, and then two weeks of vacation! I just realized I think it's been at least two weeks since I made a collage post (time flies in the summer!). I hope to find time for that later today. I am in charge of VBS at our church, so I feel like all my extra mental energy is going toward that!

We love visiting new libraries, too! I am always amazed at all the books we come home with.

August 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

Wow! I love visiting new libraries! We're slowly tiptoeing into our school year too, and I'm excited about getting back into a routine :-)

August 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Great post. I think I will join you next Friday for the collage post it will be a different spin on my Weekly Wrap Up this year. I love the Lego starter. I am going to save my pennies for that program. My boys would love that! I want to investigate further the Pick and Draw as well.

August 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

Hope Anna's feeling better and has gotten used to the braces! She looks beautiful:)
We spent some time in the pediatrician's waiting room this week and I have to agree that it was nice to not have to worry about all the middle school issues that were being lamented over by the other moms. Another reason to love homeschooling!!!

August 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

We are easing back into a full time schooling routine, too.
Thanks for hosting another Collage Friday! Have a marvelous weekend! betty jo

August 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBetty Jo

This is my first time here and I think I just might have to join in next week! I love what you said about how your"children are living a life that is pretty wonderful". I feel the same way!

August 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTracey

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