It's been just over two weeks since we left the cottage and came home to start all of our fall/winter activities. We managed to delay our fall start by a couple of weeks, and spent that extra time at the cottage, but eventually it was clear that it was time to come home.
I didn't want to come home. Truthfully, I still don't want to be here. It feels strange to be home...and yet the cottage seems so far away now, too.
We had a terrific summer. A different kind of summer than we've ever experienced, but it was good for us all and I have no regrets.
This fall is a busy one for us, to be sure, but it's not going to be as busy as last year. I learned the hard way, last year, that we just can't take on too much. Particularly when things go awry (like when one's mom is in the hospital for many months, and like when one's child breaks an arm in two places), it's overwhelming to keep up with a schedule that has few breaks in it. So we've said no to a number of things, yes to a few things, and we'll-play-it-by-ear to other things.
Here's how our extra curriculars look this year:
Mondays - piano lessons; swimming lessons; writing/reading workshop
Tuesdays - our homeschool Learning Centre, where we meet weekly with seven other homeschooling families for the purpose of both community and learning.
Wednesdays - Math tutoring for the younger two kids in the morning; Matthew and a buddy will exercise together for a couple of hours in the evening.
Thursdays - Seth and Lizzie spend a day of homeschool schooling at a local Christian school designed mostly for children new to Canada (here they participate in chapel, gym, choir, art, and a two-hour sports program/running club). Matthew is involved in Math tutoring for 90 minutes on Thursday mornings, and in the evening, Lizzie has jazz dance class.
Fridays - Matthew has art class all afternoon with an amazing local artist; in the evening, all three kids are involved in youth group at the church we've begun attending.
Saturdays - Matthew has wood turning workshops with a local wood turner.
When we're not engaged in these activities, we're doing more academic kinds of schooling than we've done before: Bible; Science, Math, History, Reading/Writing, Keyboarding (Matthew), and a bit of Geography.
It's a full life, but a good one.
Life for Matthew will be a little better this year, too, I think. For one thing, he's a night owl and yet I've always had him (attempt to be) up by about 7:00am. This year, I ask that he be downstairs for breakfast by 8:30 (dressed with face washed and teeth brushed), which means he can sleep until 8:15 or so. And on Thursdays, with Seth and Lizzie away all day, he'll have a chance to do some one-on-one work with me in a fairly quiet and peaceful house...he's really going to benefit from that.
All in all, I think we're in for a good year. I've given myself three weeks to settle into the new schedules and routines and we're half way through that time now. I think we're going to be ok.