School is ending here in the deep south, and we have a summer of opportunity and possibility before us. Summers are days of freedom, usually amazing physical growth for children, many fun activities, and hours of play.
When our children were small, our summer days revolved around play/work of the day (such as a baking day, a cleaning day, a painting day, a day for festival/seasonal preparation, a gardening day) and outside activities with the morning usually being at home outside or at a park and the afternoon being at a lake or a pool (it gets very hot down here!)
Now that our children are older, we have the re-entry of our college-aged student for summer with work obligations, our rising high school senior who has obligations this summer academically and in her own work, and our twelve year old who can have a more similar summer to past summers although now constrained by my return to work outside the home and my work schedule. For these reasons, I find we do need a bit of structure to our days. Perhaps you are feeling this as well depending upon the ages of your children or your life situation.
Having a simple framework for when at home in the summer can also be a big help towards staving off any summer bickering between siblings if that is an issue and a relief to children to know they have long stretches of time to play, but also special things to do, (even if it is special things at home) that makes fantastic summer memories. I am still looking at what days we will be home and what days we will be out. I also look at what days we will swim, what days we will be with friends and what days of the week in which we may just be home (no swimming and no friends to play with but just a good ole’ family day). I never do too much in the way of camps due to cost, but this summer our rising senior has an opportunity for a horseback riding camp at a university and our twelve year old is going to do his first week ever away from home in an overnight camp.
Mostly I am concerned with the small things – working on the farm, catching fireflies, having friends over, camping and eating smores, going to the lake or a public pool and just being together. (Along with all the decluttering and homeschool planning – those are posts to come!) In general, I think the small ordinary things are actually the glue of summer. It reminds me that in my religion, this time of summer after Pentecost is considered “Ordinary Time” and yet it often is such a big time of physical growth and mental preparedness for the tasks ahead in the school year. It is anything but ordinary, just in the same way the world of nature is anything but ordinary in summer.
May we all find the special and the sparkle in the ordinary this summer. What are your plans for rhythm this summer?