One of the local elementary schools is in my neighbourhood, so I pass by their sign board relatively often. Over the summer, this is the message they had up:


And I thought it was cool how, in principle anyway, we seem to have shared values. The difference, I suppose, is in application. Their admonition to play, read, and have fun seemed to be holiday-centric advice. On the other hand, that’s basically our lifestyle over here. In the case of their motto, “Living to Learn; Learning to Live”, I kind of love it. Do you think I can steal it? Funny, though, because my idea of encouraging those ideals is to leave the kids to live, and trust that they will learn! Honestly, learning to live is a pretty big job…it requires some focus.

Anyway, the sign has since changed because this year school started a week earlier than usual–reminiscent of my own childhood in Quebec where school always began the week prior to Labour Day. Back then it was just the facts of life, but now it seems to me like a highway robbery of summer freedom! Apparently they get an extra week in October. And lucky for everyone this year, our weather turned decidedly autumnal pretty much the day school began.

So even though I’ve tried year in and year out to reprogram my brain toward a more “seasonal” rhythm, the beginning of school has got me looking forward myself to a bit more of a predictable routine. I suppose the world really is against me in that fight, since any class the kids want to participate in generally runs September to May, and so we must follow. This year E and G will do a “Music for Young Children” class that we’re all really excited about–it’s a group structure, focusing on piano, but employing a really kinesthetic and holistic approach to music. For example, the kids learn the principles of composition, through play! IT JUST SOUNDS SO COOL. Also my good friend is running it, so I know it’ll be fun! E is also excited about the Junior Lifeguard Club that runs two days a week at the local pool, and I’m excited because she can walk there herself! We’ve got a few other things going on but the big one this fall is the local community theatre’s production of Alice in Wonderland, which E, G, and myself are all performing in. Who says you need drama class for your kid to get involved in the arts? Just find the local theatre and let your kid audition! You should have seen G’s audition–he just stood there refusing to move or speak. But he did it, so she gave him a chorus part, and now he has a line and everything–something he said he’d never want. The kids are uber excited to participate in a real-life grown up show that will generate actual paying audiences. There really is no substitute for genuine experience in the real world!

I mean all that being said…like, we are taking nine days at the end of the month to visit with Amy and her kids in the middle of the country (I don’t mean that idiomatically. I mean I’m driving east, she’s driving west, and we’re meeting in the middle of Canada). OH MY GOODNESS AMY WE SHOULD DO A HILARIOUS VIDEO. Hashtag opportunity-of-a-lifetime!! Or…opportunity of a year-time because we get together every year. Anyway. Super convenient for things like this that my sister also homeschools. Much easier to plan trips. I should mention that we do have a younger sister with kids as well, who does have them in school, and who totally would pull them out for a trip like this if she could afford it because she’s cool like that. We are bummed she will not be joining!

Until then, the weather, and the start of school, do seem to have shifted us into a different sort of routine. The children have begun watching the clock for 3:20 when they are allowed to play at the park. Everyone is spending more time indoors, doing craft projects and reading books and playing board games. Next time I go to the library I’ll pick up Alice in Wonderland (overkill?) and restart our nightly bedtime story routine, which will replace the summer’s “play outside until bedtime” routine.

Also, a couple days ago we finally got this map poster up on the wall and framed!


The kids and I had fun playing a game where I named a country (and cheated using my phone’s map app) and they had to find it. I was surprised to learn that G knows where Brazil is, and was able to easily find Peru because he knows it’s close to Brazil. I was also surprised to learn that Madagascar is an actual island, off the east coast of Africa. Like a HUGE island. How did I miss that my entire literal life?! Yet another example of how we’re always learning, and if your kid doesn’t know some piece of important seeming trivia, don’t worry–there’s probably lots of important seeming trivia that you don’t know either! You can wallow together in your ignorance and it’ll be a really bonding family activity.


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