I feel like we’ve finally found our flow of summer. It takes us a while each year. My ‘school-trained’ self wants to throw away any sense of structure and run through the halls cheering at the slightest increase in temperature ( Fifteen years after high school graduation…that stuff really sticks with a gal). This time, there’s nothing to escape. Our kids don’t know about early mornings and cold wintery bus rides, packed lunches and homework.
But because we don’t have school to set the pace of our days or years, sometimes it can feel as though time just blends into itself. This is part of what called us to this lifestyle, but it also has its struggles.
Time for the kids and myself is endless.
The only things that sets the weekend apart from the weekdays is the absence of Papa Bear. So we do still live for the weekends, when we are all together.
During the week, we’ve lived all kinds of schedules and nonschedules since I began homeschooling Maggie…at birth, but it seems our family functions best with a rough plan of where our energy will be spent, so we use to word rhythm.
People always have their opinions of what is best, and I gave into other people’s perception of this for too many years. Some people vote for structure and some for wide open. Ive found with our family of six people, there has to be a balance between the two.
For us, weekday mornings in the summer are typically spent getting ready for the day, and with three young kids, that takes a long time. Once morning jobs are finished, we enjoy breakfast together. Part of the blessing of being at home means that this portion of the day isn’t rushed. We can make banana pancakes as though it really is the weekend, even if it’s Monday.
This week we watched a documentary, while eating, about the Appalachin Trail, and it seems we’ve headed down the rabbit hole on this topic. That’s how we do a lot of our learning around here. Someone asks a question and we spend time asking Siri, reading books, and sketching in our lesson books. Now we’re imaging ourselves, ten years in the future, hiking the 5 month long trail….hmmmm…what would we need for supplies? How many miles converted into kilometres is that? Where is Virginia? How much would it cost us to ship ourselves a parcel of food at every stop (yikes!)? What is the difference between perishable and non-perishable items? What kind of animal life would we see, and how many pairs of shoes would we use. And on and on the questions went. Ad then, when daddy arrived home, his six year old asked him if we could hike the Appalachin Trail.
After breakfast, we normally meet in the art room for morning lesson. We call it this, but this is really how we spend time connecting. Sometimes we connect over math and sometimes we connect over sculpting palydough and listening to stories. Whatever the day’s content is, I try to tune out distractions that pull me from the space and frame of mind, so that I can actually be available for quality time. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.
Having this loose morning rhythm helps to make the rest of our day’s freedom more interesting. I’ve found over the years that as much as I’d rather wing it, my kids function much better when they know what’s coming. This way, free time becomes valuable time, rather than time spent waiting for something cool to happen, or ya know, less ‘bored’ time.
So that’s why we keep a rhythm during the summer. Not because I enjoy torturing my children with summer school, but because it’s what keeps us connected and excited about our days. Offering them something new to feed their minds, based off of our interests and morphed into the subjects that will give them the opportunity to receive post-secondary education, should they choose, (without them really knowing) followed by free time that is appreciated and satisfying.
So that’s a teeny taste of summer around here…