Dear family:

I was shocked to learn that my last letter was in August! I knew I was behind, but not by that much! So it will be something of a challenge to bring you up to date. David and I had planned to go to see a movie tonight, as Stephen and Ben are off at Awana club, but then we remembered that we have to be around to pick up Peter at his school this evening, so we are staying home tonight. Actually, Plan A had me staying overnight with Mim Carter and Susan Fletcher at a local hotel for a long-talked-about pajama party with these dear friends. (We were staying locally rather than our original idea of a Bucks County Bed & Breakfast because Mimís father is in St. Lukeís hospital and we thought she should be available at a momentís notice if his condition changed.) However, just last night Susanís father had to go to the ER, and today is having quadruple bypass surgery in New Jersey, so our get together will have to wait until next month. That gives me the opportunity to write this letter Ė and gives you a taste of what our lives are like: lots of plans that undergo lots of changes!

Obviously, the biggest change since I last wrote has been school starting. Peter rides a bus in the morning, and then we have to pick him up after soccer practice or games. As far as I can tell, he is enjoying Lehigh Valley Christian High School. I think it was a bit of an adjustment facing the amount of time that school, practice, and homework consume of his day, but overall the coursework is easier for him and he is getting good grades (except for spelling!). He has one stand-out teacher (fortunately, the same man for two subjects), and one lulu teacher, with the rest in the middle. On Meet the Teachers Night the lulu teacher had a long line of parents who wanted to speak about their concerns, and Peter reports that since then the teacher has improved.

Currently Peter is constructing a catapult for his physics project. The students must hurl a pumpkin without smashing it. Upon further questioning, we learned that the catapult can be of any size, so we wondered why Peterís device is eight feet long (the neighbors looked a little nervous as it was being built). His explanation: "Well, you can make it smaller but then no one will remember you."

His soccer team is a good news/ bad news story. The good news is that they have only lost one game out of fourteen so far, but the bad news is that Peter has had very little playing time. Nevertheless, this week he scored a goal Ė of course, he chose to do this right after I had left to take Stephen to his practice. Next year his team will be in the league with local public schools, though there is a rumor that the coach will be leaving to take a coaching position at Liberty High School.

Christopher and Stephen are fully into the swing of our homeschool now, and Ben is at nursery school four afternoons a week. It means a lot of into and out chauffeuring for me, but we try to make good use of the hours he is gone and he just loves nursery school. He has the same teachers that Chris and Stephen did, who are great at creating a very orderly and yet welcoming environment. The days he does not go to nursery school are hard for us because he keeps asking all day when he can go.

On Thursdays we have Masterís Academy, in which I am teaching history (as I did last year) and also an elective literature class. I find that most of the week I am either preoccupied with preparing for the class or recovering from the class, so it tends to dominate our week. A large part of the challenge is satisfying my directorís desire to have me in costume each week (without a budget for such). I make do in dreadfully inaccurate ways -- for instance, I used essentially the same costume for the week I was Squanto and the week I was Pocahontas. I have eighty students in four history classes, and six in my lit class. They are a fun group. Up to this point I think I have been overpreparing, forgetting how new they are to literature study, but I am catching on to the right pace for them and so it should be easier for me, too. This yearís MAFA covers the years 1600- 1750, so my lit class is reading American and British writers of the period. One of them is William Byrd, and in honor of Uncle Peter, I thought you all might like to hear what he had to say about North Carolina

Surely there is no place in the world where the inhabitants live with less labor than

North Carolina. It approaches nearer to the description of Lubberland than any other, by the

great felicity of its climate, the easiness of raising providence, and the slothfulness of the people....

To speak the truth, Ďtis a thorough aversion to labor that makes people file off to N. Carolina,

where plenty and a warm sun confirm them in their disposition to laziness for their whole


I should confess, though, that Chris, Steve, Ben, and I filed off to North Carolina last month for the express purpose of enjoying that climate and laziness. I know it seems like bad timing, just after the school year gets started, but the rental rates are 1/3 the summer cost, and so we join three other families for a week on the Outer Banks in mid-September. This year our departure was tinged with sadness. Our beloved Mr. Ternigan died on September 12, and we were able to have a visit with his family the same night I attended the viewing for Nancyís father. David served as pallbearer for Mr. T, and Peter helped to represent us at the memorial service the following week, which was a wonderful tribute to his life and kindness.

Christopher has written in great detail about our Outer Banks trip, so I will spare repeating (or correcting) him. We paid a brief and impromptu visit to the farm on the way down, and a slightly longer visit to Daniel on the return trip home. In contrast to last year, when we were evacuated due to Hurricane Floyd, this year we had a full week of vacation weather. The simplicity of life there, removed from schedules and computers and phones, is thoroughly refreshing. We all wanted to stay another week or two or three!

Davidís week revolves around the Wednesday night Bible study, and he is also teaching in NJ on Thursdays Ė both biology and chemistry. I love going to the study and have created a tradition of bringing along homebaked goodies which the students appreciate to a surprising degree. We have a lot of new faces and the group is definitely moving into an established mode with the student leaders assuming more initiative in reaching out to the others. Mom and Dad will be pleased to hear that Alohi, their Hawaiian friend, came to the meeting this week.

Daniel will be coming home for the weekend tomorrow. I will suggest he send an email with his own report of Hopkins life. In general, though, we assume that no news is good news and that he is probably studying all the time.

I am leaving out lots of stories but at least you will know we are all doing well and keeping busy.



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