The church bells were a nice touch.
I'd just made sure all the children were strapped in and had pulled the van door shut when they pealed - marking "high noon" and the end of our current "regular" school year. Then off we drove, "into the wild blue yonder" - well, over the bridge and south to IHOP anyway...but I can't resist the allusion to the Air Force song, part of the Armed Services Medley we recently learned for history.
Rachel and Abigail and I had marked the start of this school year with a similar trip for breakfast back on August 4 of last year.
So it seemed only fitting to bookend our wonderful experience over the last months with another special meal, this time joined by my daycare children, who've participated with us along much of the journey.
I think I've witnessed the birth of a tradition!
I've really enjoyed homeschooling since we started the process - whether one considers that to be when I first filled out our annual notification, when the girls started kindergarten or (my personal preference...since all of life is learning) the moment I carried Rachel in through the door from the hospital two days after her birth.
I must say, though, that I believe this year has been our best yet. Home education has been a process since we first embarked on more official "academics" in the fall of 2006, and I always advise new homeschoolers to expect - and be "okay" with - something similar. It simply takes a while to put together all the pieces: figuring out each child's learning style...finding (usually through trial-and-error) curricula (in each content area) to suit each one's needs and the family's educational philosophy...devising a workable schedule, just to name a few.
But this was the year all the pieces came together for us. A lot of it - our math and spelling programs, our organizational system - was finally in place by last spring. And so I wrapped things up this time last year feeling very good about the overall direction of our school...especially because I believed by then that I had the "ace up my sleeve" ready for this school year - the thing that would beautifully knit together all the other components.
I was right.
The lynchpin has been My Father's World (MFW), the core curriculum we adopted for this school year and now plan to continue for the foreseeable future - probably all the way through to high school graduation.
In my enthusiasm, I've been chomping at the bit all year to review MFW - but I waited so I could present a complete picture after a whole year's experience. And I'm going to wait just a bit longer since my purpose today is simply to mark the end of our current year of study. Suffice it to say, though, that, when the review comes, it will be glowing. Stellar even! I can hardly wait!
If you read my post earlier this week, you know we school year-round...so we're never exactly "done." In fact, for attendance purposes, this current year goes through July 31. However - in between a full week off starting tomorrow and our three-week "vacation" in July - school will be much lighter (encompassing just some daily practice with the 3Rs and a few enrichment activities - oh, and twice-weekly swimming lessons included as gym class!) until we start back with our next MFW program on August 2.
And I intend to make the most of that downtime. It's been a great year of learning and growing - so we can all take a well-deserved break with confidence, knowing we've got more like it just ahead on our homeschool path.