July Snapshots

June was such a gift of gorgeous weather, that I simply refused to be annoyed with July.

The Daughter’s summer schedule picked right up where we left off in June, with weekly AHG Bible Study, a weekly painting class, and finishing up the last of her reading assignments for homeschool. She took her Stanford Achievement Test online mid-July in order for us to submit the “Evidence of Achievement” letter and scores to the local superintendent of schools by August 1st.  In a city where the drop out rate is considerable and several schools are not accredited, this little bit of business always strikes me as ironic.

The Daughter had 2 weeks to go on her 4 week stretch of camps and volunteering. Starting on July 4th, (yep) The Daughter participated in a week-long morning AHG Badge Camp that was hosted by a fellow Patriot-level girl at a sister troop in a neighboring city. The camp was to fulfill a requirement to earn the Dolley Madison Level Award. The Daughter was interested in seeing how another girl handled the project since she will soon be looking for project ideas.  It was a long drive every morning, and we racked up tolls going through the tunnel, but it was a good opportunity.

The final week was Band Camp at YMV.  The Daughter, a pianist, had some jitters, but they were more than offset by her excitement. She had a great variety of responsibilities and learned a lot. On a few pieces, she had her own piano part, on a few others she doubled another instrument, on another piece she played percussion! At the end of the week we were treated to another great concert!  The summer camps at YMV were a bargain, great learning and great fun!

A highlight of the month was a quick weekend visit with one of her dear friends who moved to North Carolina. We haven’t seen them much since they moved, but the girls stay connected via email and chatting.  We left on a Friday morning and thoroughly enjoyed a beautiful and uncomplicated drive through the gorgeous fields, farmland and small towns of North Carolina. We had a fun lunch with our friends, and were treated to a quick tour of East Carolina University and then I left for home and she stayed the weekend! It’s always wonderful to spend time with friends!

While The Daughter was volunteering and camping and having a grand time, my July was spent working on our schedule for Y10 of our homeschool, in particular searching for a good spine for the Ancient History stream.

It is the trend in homeschool history to rotate through major historical periods either every four years or every six years. Thanks to my favorite homeschool podcast, A Delectable Education, I recently learned that Charlotte Mason actually scheduled streams of history, and streams of science, that coursed through the upper levels.  So, in addition to the history of the nation, she would introduce ancient history in the upper levels at a separate time during the week.  I was excited to hear this because I did not relish the idea of cramming Ancient History and Modern History into 12th grade.

Since the CM online curricula that I use as a jumping off point is not structured this way, I needed to spend some time researching books. This involved reserving a stack of history books from the library (thank God for ILL – Inter Library Loan) and then reading chunks of each of them, and comparing Table of Contents and depth of coverage and writing style.  My goal was to find a thorough book with an engaging narrative writing style.  Some were engaging, but not deep enough. Others were deep enough, but snarky. (Seriously, is that necessary?)  In the end I chose a more recently published book that met my requirements for style and tone and depth, covering  “From the earliest accounts to the Fall of Rome” in one book –  The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer.

It wasn’t all work though! I watched season 1 of Poldark, walked on the beach, and at the Botanical Gardens. We visited with Ralph’s aunt and cousins in town from West Virginia and received a bounty of delicious Ilene Beans and other lovely canned veggies!

The month culminated in the Return of the #1  Son.  We borrowed Papa Gene’s truck and went up to Fairfax to load him up and move him home.  He discovered that he could mop up the remaining credits needed for his History degree using GMU’s extensive online presence.  We are thrilled to have him home!

On my reading list this month:  After pouring over old books about ancient history, I decided I needed a break and decided to borrow a children’s fantasy novel recommended by one of my favorite homeschool bloggers.  She had posted about her family’s love of a book about rabbits with swords called The Green Ember.  It was just what I needed to refresh my imagination.  And now a sequel is out!  There is also talk of a movie….I also continue picking up G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown series reading a story or so per week.  I finished Silas Marner – loved it – how could you not? And have started Scaramouche, by Sabatini.

A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.” Eudora Welty

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