Rebel Island and Summer’s End

Back-to-school week here in San Antonio!

The boys are grumbling, but not unduly. Haley begins his second year of home-schooling. Patrick is starting third form at Saint Mary’s Hall. They both seem, if not delighted, at least in good spirits. Patrick got home yesterday looking relaxed and cheerful. We celebrated the end of the school day with a swim in the pool, so it still felt a little bit like summer.

Haley’s first day included an additional course – Latin, which I’ll be teaching him. We’re having fun with it so far! During his free time, Haley decided to sit down and start writing a fantasy book. I was surprised and impressed. I wasn’t expecting that, but it’s really amazing to see him writing because he wants to, not because he has to.

His reading has also improved so much since we began home-schooling. We require him to start the day with fifteen pages of silent reading, but frequently he forgets to stop and gets engrossed in his book. I certainly don’t stop him! That’s the beauty of a flexible schedule. He has read more in the past year than in all his previous school years combined, and he’s enjoying it. His curriculum parallels that of Saint Mary’s Hall, where I taught middle school, but it’s so much faster to cover content in a one-on-one situation that Haley is usually done with course work by 2:30.

Patrick’s only complaint is that he wants to be home-schooled too. We’ve explained that his brother had to go through fifth grade in the regular classroom, and Patrick should do the same before we make any decisions. He’s okay with that, and really, he does so well in the regular classroom environment that his needs aren’t the same as his brother’s. But we’ll keep our options open.

As for me, I still have the rhythm of the school year in my blood. After teaching so long, I still feel like I should be in my classroom right now, making seating charts, setting out new markers, and preparing my lessons. I doubt I’ll ever stop missing the classroom. This week feels like the New Year much more than January 1st ever will. I won’t be away from school for long, however. My author visits start up again next week, and I’ll be traveling extensively throughout the year. It’s been nice having a few months at home to write. Now I’ll have to readapt to living out of a suitcase!

Today is the publication date for Rebel Island, my new grown-up mystery featuring P.I. Tres Navarre. I’ll be making a quick trip to Houston this evening for a signing at Murder by the Book. Tomorrow I’ll be signing at the Twig Bookshop in San Antonio. It has been a long time since I’ve done an event for adults! Hopefully I can remember how to talk about suspense and crime rather than Greek mythology. This weekend, I’m off to the Decatur Book Festival, which will be my first appearance in Georgia.

In other news, the title of the fourth Percy Jackson book will be announced in Publisher’s Weekly children’s bookshelf (and on my website) on October 4! Check back then to get the scoop. I’ll post a brief sneak peak of the book as well. John Rocco is working on the cover. As soon as I have more information on that, I’ll let you know.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend, everyone, and a great back-to-school week!

Rick Riordan