I always get “back to school” feelings when September approaches, and this month is no different. There is a distinct chill in the air in the mornings and evenings, the sun is going down a little earlier, some of the local trees are starting to turn, and rosehips are growing fat in our garden.
September is probably my favourite month. The weather is mild, the light is beautiful, and everything feels deliciously full of promise.
This month I’ve been really uncertain whether to mark the start of Autumn on September 1st as we usually do, or wait for the Autumn Solstice on the 23rd (partly because the weather is still so mild). In the end I decided to stick with the start of the month, as Frida has been anticipating it and it works well with marking our first official term of home schooling.
We celebrated this morning by reading some Autumn poems, pulling out -and diving into – a pile of Autumn books, changing the decorations on our celebration ring, singing new and old Autumn verses, getting out the Autumn flower fairies and putting the Summer ones to bed for a long sleep, and lighting a beeswax candle whilst we tucked into cinnamon and honey stewed apples for breakfast. Our Autumn rhythm is already up on the wall, the house tidied ready for a new season.
We had planned a beautiful day out in one of our favourite places with dear friends, but my husband was poorly so instead Frida and I went for a nature walk in a local park where we collected our first conkers and pinecones and snacked on a few remaining blackberries, as well as making nature bracelets with flowers and leaves we found on our walk.
Honouring a first day of (home) school
Tomorrow, we will celebrate Frida’s first “official” day as a home schooled child. I feel like Frida has been home educated since birth, as she’s never been to nursery or preschool and we’ve planned to home school from pretty early on, so I wasn’t sure if we should mark the time she would have been starting Reception year or not, as in reality our days will look much the same as they currently do now. But Frida is very aware that some of her friends are starting school soon, so we decided to make a fuss of her and celebrate her just like we would if she were going into mainstream education.
So tomorrow we will give Frida some gifts; a new coat, a small selection of Autumn clothes, new stationary and a pencil case (with a tiny owl to live in it for extra wisdom), a couple of new books, and a camera which I’ve been planning to buy her for a little while now. We will begin our new Autumn homeschooling rhythm, and my mum will come up for the afternoon to celebrate with us.
A mother, celebrating her daughter, with her own mother by her side. I think I’m probably going to shed some happy tears.
We’ll also be celebrating again in a few days time with two other home schooling families we see each week, with cake and leaf crowns and adventures in the park. It’s such a joy watching these happy children grow and thrive!
Seeing in a new year: Celebrating Rosh Hashanah
At the end of September is the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, and we will slowly begin preparing to celebrate it half way through the month.
You can read about our plans for celebrating Rosh Hashanah last year here; this year will look broadly similar, with plans to celebrate with family, read about the history of the festival, eat lots of apples and honey (not so different from all year round for us as these are both staple foods in our home!), bake, and perhaps wear some new clothes too. We will also get Frida a small gift, though I’m a bit stuck for ideas as she will have received her “starting school” presents just a few weeks before. Maybe a new board game we can play together as the days get shorter.
Some extras to celebrate
We will also be celebrating and learning about the harvest moon with a special tea time featuring Oreo cookies, marking the harvest festival by donating groceries to a food bank, and ordering bulbs to plant out for next Spring.
Have you celebrated the start of Autumn yet, or will you wait for the equinox? How do you love to celebrate?