(Last Updated on October 24, 2023)
Years ago, I started writing about our plans for summer breaks. I shared the educational and homeschool-y things we did over the summer each year. If you read those posts, you might remember that each year I seemed to bounce back and forth between too academic and too relaxed.
By our 5th homeschooling summer I’d found a good balance. (Yes, it really did take me five summers to figure it out…)
But just when I was getting the hang of things… the pandemic reared its ugly head.
So the summers of 2020 and 2021 (after our 6th and 7th years of homeschooling) were kind of a blur. If I’m ever able to piece together what it is we did those summers, I’ll post an update.
It’s now 2022 and my family recently relocated to a different state. Needless to say, our household is currently in a state of upheaval and transition.
Here I am… a mom heading into summer break without a plan, without a community, and without my bearings in this new town.
Knowing my kids’ personalities, I know we’ll need at least a little bit of structure to keep us from losing our minds. But, during this crazy season of our life, I’m lucky if I can find my phone charger and a pair of socks. I really just don’t have the time or mental clarity to plan much in the way of “intentional educational activities” this summer.
Thankfully, I’ve learned that our summer plan (and homeschooling in general) doesn’t have to be as complicated as I’ve made it in the past.
My kids don’t need color-coded checklists and three months of carefully curated workbook pages. And they especially don’t need those things if it turns me into crabby mom because all my spare time is spent crafting their perfect summer experience.
So, in between unpacking boxes and trying to figure out how to work our new microwave, my kids and I had a 20 minute brainstorming session. Here’s what we’ve thrown together for our summer “plan”:
- Daily Bible reading, together and separately
- Practicing their musical instruments
- Try a new park each week
- Go to local farmer’s markets often
- Write letters to friends and family
- Check out the local libraries weekly and join their summer reading program
- Play “Find A Box” in our garage and unpack a moving box of toys, games, or puzzles every couple of weeks
- Make a “Bored Jar” with activity ideas (like “learn a new card game” or “make paper airplanes” or, my personal favorite, “organize a closet”)
It’s definitely nothing fancy. But it doesn’t need to be fancy.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in homeschooling (and parenting) so far is that our kids don’t need our fancy plans. They need us.
So far, we’re a week into summer and this relaxed approach is going well. It’s similar to the success we’ve had with “strewing” – unplanned and unpredictable, but effective. It’s just what we need right now in this chapter of our lives. And, like I’ve said before, kids are learning all the time. They’re learning just as much as they did during the summers when I’ve spent an absurd number of hours planning curricula and preparing specific activities.
Sometimes less is more.
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Find out what happens the follow summer in the next post in Our Summer Break series (Year 9)!