September’s Making the Days Count Activity Calendar

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Making the Days Count

Activity Calendar

September . . . what does it mean to you?  I always think of new school supplies, warm days, cool nights, apple picking, baking apple strudel, local fall festivals, and leaves starting to change.

September is one of my favorite months.  There’s just so much to do!  I hope you’ll pick out some fun activities to do with your students this month and make your days count!

Ruby Holler

As C.S. Lewis said, “No book is worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally—and often far more—worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” Sharon Creech wasn’t writing books when I was ten, but I would have loved her books as a child—though probably not as much as I do now (though I won’t reach fifty for a while!). Some authors simply skim across the deep emotions of childhood, but Creech digs in deep and sometimes twists a little while she’s down there, too. Even though I love to read children’s books, very few children’s authors seem to write stories that can take your breath away like Sharon Creech can.

Ruby Holler follows fraternal twins Dallas and Florida, thirteen year old fraternal twins living at the Boxton Creek Home for Children under the care of Mr. and Mrs. Trepid, the “bungling managers.” Named for the travel brochures lining the box in which they were abandoned, the two have had a disappointing string of foster home experiences, each one worse than the last.

Tiller and Sairy Morey are an elderly couple who have raised their children in their rustic home in Ruby Holler. They have decided to go on separate adventures, one to an island for bird watching, and one on a trip down a river. Since they are getting older, they decide they need some help, so they arrange to take in Dallas and Florida for a while to help them on their journeys. The funny thing about journeys, though, is that we don’t always end up where we think we’re going, and that is certainly the case in Ruby Holler.

Sharon Creech has created some of her best characters in this book. Dallas is a quiet and sensitive young man and Florida is both humorous and heartbreaking in her hopes and frustrations. Their relationship as twins parallels Tiller and Sairy’s relationship as husband and wife; neither one is really sure who he is without the other anymore. Tiller and Sairy have very different personalities, but they are both kind and generous and do their best despite their faults.

My favorite thing about this book is the way Tiller and Sairy radiate grace. When Dallas and Florida arrive at Ruby Holler they have had years of horrible, negative experiences and are suspicious of the couple’s motives. Even after they start to settle in, they still plan to catch a freight train out of town and actually attempt it at one point, only to be gently brought home again. When the twins try to help by cutting down a tree they didn’t know was special to Tiller, Sairy urges him to suppress his anger and teach the kids which trees are okay to cut. Even though they don’t know much about the twins’ background, they know that they need love and grace and they give it freely.

Ruby Holler also has a bit of mystery and adventure, too. Sometimes situations are extreme, such as the different foster home experiences, but the mistreatment is so exaggerated that it is not too disturbing. There is one scene where a child falls ill and passes away that may be upsetting for a more sensitive reader, so you may want to pre-read this one—or at least Chapter 18. The mystery of the children’s past begins to tie in to the present as the book goes on, and in the end, things are not wrapped up completely, but they do come together nicely.

Sharon Creech is such an amazing author for upper elementary aged kids. If you haven’t read her books, go to your library now and get started—and Ruby Holler is a wonderful place to begin!


Back to School Fun!

Why should public schoolers have all the back to school fun??

I say that we, as homeschoolers, can have JUST as much fun making back to school memories!!

Look at some of these fun ideas I found! Make some new memories with your children this year as the rest of the world heads back to school!!

Back to School Memory Making 

Take some back to school pictures!! Idea and printables found here!

Maybe the Back to School Fairy can come to your house too!! Ideas and photo from here. This blogger’s family has the fun tradition of the back-to-school-fairy coming the day before school starts each year. They hear the doorbell ring and run to see what they have been given! Maybe school supplies, a new outfit, some fun pencils! FUN!!

Give your students some of these as you start the new year! Idea and printable found here.


More picture ideas! !! Some of these won’t work for “at home” families…but many of them will! Some great ideas for photo-ops as school starts! Idea and printable checklist found here!

Start a back-to-school HUGE COOKIE tradition!! Idea, recipe, and picture from here.


Start making yearbooks for your kiddos! Idea and free printables from Becky Higgins! Maybe your kids could even help you make them! A fun, memory making project to do together!

Have welcome bags for your kids when they get up! It could be at their spot at the table or on the school table, if you use one! Idea and picture found here.

And, if all these ideas don’t tempt you to have some back to school fun, then by all means…


As soon as the bus drives by on the public schoolers first day of school, wave good-bye to the bus, jump in your car and head out for ICE CREAM! or pancakes! or the pool!