October is well on its way and the weather has been beautiful. I’m even starting to see a little color on the trees too.

Our homeschool year is going as expected, and it’s keeping me extremely occupied, to say the least, which is why this is a short post. This year is the most challenging as I homeschool both 8th grade and 5th grade. The 5th grader is no longer in the “easy grades,” as I like to think of them, and we are consumed with thoughts on how we’ll manage high school next year for my 8th grader. I spend my days checking my notes, making sure we’re ticking off the to do list and staying on task. It’s not always easy, and I juggle a lot, but I also make sure I preserve time for myself so that I have the energy to do the work.

The boys are older, and there’s so much to look forward to. I appreciate staying busy while we sit out this pandemic, but we also have those humdrum days when we just want to fast forward a little bit. I can’t wait until we (as a society) can get back to some sort of normal, if not exactly the same normal we had before.

Recently we went to the botanical garden, took a leisurely walk, and I cherished every moment. There were many flowers blooming, and I enjoyed using my camera. Outings like these have always kept me sane, and I’m happy to share some of the images with you. Please tell me how you’re doing in the comments. I hope you are well and that you’re getting out into nature too.

I promise I’ll write more next month. 😉


We spent a morning at Ft. Yargo State Park late last month, and we love the beautiful, new visitor’s center there now.

Every once in a while, I will look around my house at all the dust and clutter (sometimes with amusement; sometimes with angst), and I wonder if I’ll ever make it to the other side of homeschooling. And if I do make it, will there really be more free time? More time to clean and organize? More time to get involved in all the things I could imagine myself doing? The older I get the more I realize how unpredictable life can be, so I’m not counting on anything anymore. I spent this morning (Saturday) cleaning, and I’m spending a few minutes blogging before I need to go make dinner. Nothing will get finished, but it’s enough for now.

All I can do is take it one day at a time. And October is a lovely month. After an unusually hot September, the weather finally cooled off. Although we haven’t been working in the yard or going on many hikes, it feels like things are going along fairly well, and I can’t ask for more than that.

Ft. Yargo. My Nikon camera broke last month. 😦 So all photos are from my phone now.

We have been busy getting down to the business of educating our kids, making short-term and long-term goals, and working towards them together. If there’s one great thing about homeschooling and working from home, we’re all in it together. And that’s good most of the time. Whatever the future holds, it will be exciting as long as we arrive there safely, which is all I hope for.

This is the time of year that our local university has the best free, faculty recitals and other music events to attend, so we’ve been taking advantage of that as much as we can. My eldest son also has several piano events this fall and more coming up. We’re looking forward to those. My younger son continues to work hard on the cello too. It’s amazing what these boys can accomplish, and they make it look so easy! (And just to be real: they still spend a lot of time playing video games too!)

It was an exciting day when we found a beautiful, fully intact snake skin in our yard!

I’m thrilled to report that I have found us an online Mandarin Chinese tutor. She tutors the boys once a week and gives them homework too. If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you’ll know that it’s been my intent to teach a foreign language. I bought some curriculum and began teaching both Spanish and Chinese to the boys, and we made some progress, but it was slow going. It was always pushed down on my priority list because I have so many other subjects I’m required to teach.

When the boys picked Chinese as the language they wanted to focus on, I knew I could not do it on my own. In order to learn proper pronounciation, you have to have a tutor that can correct your speech. So after several months of trying to find someone local and coming up empty, I did several Internet searches and finally found a great tutor (at a reasonable price) through Wyzant, which has ended up being a great service. (Insert me jumping up and down here. Yay!)

And I can’t pass this up: Please skip this paragraph, if you are not looking for a tutor (in any subject). Wyzant has one of those deals where if I refer a friend to their service, my friend can get $40 worth of free tutoring, and I will get $40 off too. So, if any of my readers are looking for a tutor IN ANY SUBJECT, please consider doing this! It will help us both. Just send me a message through my contact page because I have to use your e-mail address to refer you to Wyzant. I’m also happy to answer any questions you may have about my experience with Wyzant before I submit your e-mail too. Thanks!
A Halloween costume in progress. Using a pair of already-made wings makes it much easier.

Anyway, back to October. We are gearing up for Halloween again, and my little birder is planning to be a bird for the fourth year in a row. The first two years he was his favorite bird, the black-capped chickadee. Last year he was an indigo bunting. I will wait and let this year’s bird be a surprise, but you may be able to guess by looking at the picture. 😉

This is the extent of our autumn decorations, but they make me smile. 🙂

This weekend we also got our flu shots and Halloween and fall decorations up, so it’s finally feeling like autumn. (ha ha – Yes, flu shots feel like autumn to me!)

Playing the game “evolution” with my 10-year-old. When they are not studying or practicing music, my boys play a lot of games.

One thing that I have wanted to do for a long time is write about the books I am reading. I love reading, but I have never kept a log of any sort. You may have noticed my last two posts were about books. Hopefully you will see more of those, but it all depends on my free time, which is in short supply these days. But they don’t take very long to write, which is another reason I thought I’d try writing about books on this blog too. It also goes along with my goal of writing more about my projects instead of the boys’ projects because as they get older, their endeavors won’t be my stories to tell anymore. And they are growing so, so fast. Sigh.

You can imagine our surprise (and delight) when a sweet, tame, little pig wandered through our yard! We think it may have escaped its pen, though it was gone before we could decide what to do about it. We hope it made it home okay.

And…I am considering that instead of writing blog posts about our 7th grade curriculum and schedule, I may write a PDF resource and sell it for a small amount in my store. The reason is that I have spent a loooong time planning 7th grade, thinking it through and researching what my son would be working on this year. I wrote in great detail about our elementary years, and I posted everything for free. I did that because I love blogging and sharing. But there is a part of me that feels this would be too much work to give away. I don’t expect to get many takers, but I hope you’ll understand why I’m doing it. I’m not sure when I’ll be finished with it, but I’m working on it now. Feel free to leave feedback about that. I’m curious what people may think.

Also, please let me know how your October is going. Do you have any special projects you’re working on? Any autumn trips?  Had any fun wildlife encounters? Write a public comment below or a private message on my contact page. I write everybody back.