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First Day of Our Summer Holidays!



Well, they made it!  All the required work was finished, and our summer holidays officially started on Friday afternoon.  By Saturday afternoon I realized, once again, how much we actually do and learn when we’re not ‘doing school’.



We read books:


6 year old:  

Storm at Batoche by Maxine Trottier, fiction about a young boy’s encounter with Louis Riel

Floss by Kim Lewis, about a hard-working sheep dog and the importance of taking time to play (though this book has lovely pictures the message is for parents, not children; this bothers me)

Marja’s Skis, about a Finnish lumberjack family in northern Ontario, and

Dawn Watch, about crossing Lake Superior at night by sailboat, both by Jean E. Pendziwol, probably more suitable for older children;

A Seaside Alphabet by Donna Grassby and Susan Tooke, which I mentioned in an earlier post. Recommended.  

9 year old: 

Ship of Adventure by Enid Blyton (the Adventure Series is a lot of fun, although I don’t like the attitudes portrayed in many of Enid Blyton’s other books)

-Several volumes of Best in Children’s Books, a wonderful old collection of children’s fiction and nonfiction.  Recommended; occasionally offered on eBay or by second hand book dealers, though we found our set sitting on the carpet of a small thrift bookshop.


11 year old: 

Under Drake’s Flag by G.A. Henty (in our family, these exciting historical books are allowed once one is in grade 7).  Recommended for older children, but with a violence warning, as for most of Henty’s books.  Available free here. 

Inside the Secret Garden: A Treasury of Crafts, Recipes, and Activities by Carolyn Strom Collins and Christina Wyss Eriksson

Children of the New Forest written by Captain Marryat in 1847, an exciting and inspiring story during the times of Charles I and Oliver Cromwell, apparently the first enduring historical children’s novel.  This is a book no one should miss; it is excellent to read aloud.  Highly recommended; available online as a book and an audio book 

14 Year old:

The Privateersman and

Percival Keene, both sea yarns by Captain Marryat; because I respected the author after reading Children of the New Forest, I did not read these before letting the 14 yo read them (contrary to my usual practice), so I cannot say anything about them.  However, Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, and Ernest Hemmingway all greatly enjoyed Marryat’s sea stories.  


We went on two nature walks:


Friday afternoon we drove to a nearby wood full of wonderful trails.  The soft green maple leaves turned many of the paths into tunnels, so cool and refreshing and wonderfully peaceful.  The children ran up and down, enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of the wood as well as the freedom of being on holidays.


Saturday for lunch we walked down to a small river where we had a picnic of gluten-free orange muffins and ginger lemonade in a lovely cedar-ceilinged bower of ferns.  Then the younger children donned their life jackets and set to enjoying the water while the dogs and the 14 year old explored.  Yellow cow lilies floated in a quiet inlet and blue flag (wild irises) peeked among the grasses at the edge.   A lone tent caterpillar chewed on a leaf and then hurried down the stem of the bush, and I had the time to notice and wonder why.


We gardened, planting huge numbers of tomatoes as well as herbs and greens.   We watched our six white ducks, the brown laying hens, and the fluffy chicks.  We enjoyed the breezes and the sunshine.


The children made peanut butter cookies, orange muffins, and delicious spaghetti as well as a special end-of-school meal of nachos and floats.


We were busy.  We lived.  We enjoyed the beautiful world God has given us.  We read.  And, inevitably, we learned. 


We have been blessed beyond measure.  Praise the Lord!






  1. solidrock says:

    I love summer. The whole "world" is a classroom. Sounds like your summer is off to a fabulous start! Keep enjoying the simple things! The things God made.

  2. Congratulations on finishing school so early!!!

    -Adele Aarnoutse

  3. Canadagirl says:

    I will have to check out Captain Marryat book and audio book. That sound like up our alley.

    You are soooooo right when you talk about there is tons of learning even when you are not "doing" school. I am starting to pull things together and writing down ideas that we can have fun with this summer.

    Sending you bessings and ((HUGS)) my SSiC

    In HIm<><


  4. LarabaK says:

    I am always looking for book titles. Thanks!

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