The days are glorious, the sun goes down late, and the temperature is rising. It must be summer!
I have mixed feelings about this summer break.
- I want a break
- We didn’t start school until October last year. It was awesome. I’m so glad we didn’t put the pressure of school on top of the pressure of end of summer canning/garden harvest. But seriously, we should probably be going longer.
- School kind of fell apart around January, and not much got done. We picked it up in February, had a stellar March, burned out in April for a bit, and sort of trudged through May like a good swamp hike.
- My kids thrive on routine.
- Learning is a lifestyle. It’s not something you do for a season, and then stop doing. It’s a way of life.
- I want a break.
- Elias did not get enough teaching time from me this last year. He should be the priority this summer. This year, year-round school might look like getting time with Mommy in shifts. This kid gets February, this kid gets March, this kid gets… (Just kidding. Sort of.)
- Solveig is chomping at the bit to learn how to read. In fact, she’s so impatient, she’ll probably pick it up herself in the next months.
- Ingrid seriously is overdue for potty training. She’s so old that I’m hoping it will be like it was with David, and she’ll have it down in a couple of days. She’s very eager to learn now. I must seize this.
- I want a break.
- Oh yeah, I’m having a baby this summer. No biggie.
- Free time, exploring, and learning how to deal with boredom are so foundational to childhood. I do not want to over schedule. I don’t want to provide fun for them. I want them to make their own fun.
- I am hot, huge, hormonal, and moody. That does not bode well with chaos/whining/fighting.
- I want a break.
So here’s my plan for working out that mashed group of thoughts for this summer.
- We will keep the routine that is just the flow of life in our house. Breakfast, chores, morning hour will stay. Morning hour will have devotions as normal, and completely different subjects than the regular school year. We are planning on doing a sketching/art class online from Craftsy together. The kids helped me pick it out and they are so excited.
- Other things that the kids claim are family life, NOT school, so that we will keep doing it this summer because it’s their favorite times of day: our morning tea time (snack time) where I read to them a great work of fiction as their mouths are busy chewing instead of talking, quiet time (our all-family siesta after lunch for an hour that keeps me sane) as well as our evening read aloud of a different great work of fiction for the older kids after the little girls are in bed.
- After morning hour, the big kids need to go do something and stay out of my hair. They need to leave me alone so I can focus on the little kids who were pushed aside to go run off and play during the school year. So it’s going to be a flip/flop of age group education prioritization, so to speak. However, both Silje and David have some catch up still from the fall apart we had around January. (It was really bad.) Silje has 2 subjects and David has 1 subject that will continue on this summer until they finish their work. I know. I’m so mean. They will have to work on these without my help, and wait to ask questions/be graded until the afternoon. It will be a lesson in patience. We’ll see if this works.
- Tuesday/Thursday night Tae Kwon Do for the big kids and childcare at the YMCA for the 2 little girls will continue on all summer. None of the kids want to stop, and I like my 1 hour of alone time twice a week. They’ll miss practice when they are at camp, of course, but that won’t be too bad.
- The big kids also need to brainstorm their own ways to make this summer awesome. They each made a list of things that they would love to do this summer. After their morning duties are completed, they will pick something off the list they made up, write it on their notecard for the day for the bulletin board, and get to it. (I’m having them write it down because I’m so muddy-brained lately, that I might forget that one kid is working on a plant identification project in the woods and another is reading all day in her room. That way I know where they are and what they’re doing, in theory.)
- In the afternoons, they will continue doing whatever they want from their lists most days. The smaller kids will also just play. These are “approved projects” that we have brainstormed together, and they will pull off by themselves. However, we want to do some outings too. We plan to visit every playground in our little town, for instance. We might think of more, but it depends on how I’ll be feeling.
- The 3 older kids will all be rotating through Bible Camp in the month of June. David will have about 4 days out there first. Then the very next week, Silje and Elias each have a camp out there (though their age groups will be in opposite parts of the camp). Elias will be out there 3 days and 2 nights. Silje’s Jr. High camp will finish at the end of the week. Thus…I’ll have some break. It’s just how their ages/camps lined up calendar-wise this year.
Oh, and according to tradition, we will unplug the television for the month of June. We’ll see if we make it all the way through this time. I am allowing the big kids to keep their school computer, but have limited their access to just their computer programing/math site (www.khanacademy.com), their typing instructor game, and chess. I programed the parental controls to log off each kid after they have been on for 2 hours, so no all-day marathons of even their nerdy games will be available to them. If they want to work on “school” for 2 hours on the computer, be my guest. I know. So mean.
I’m not saying no t.v. all summer because: 1) We’ve never made it all the way through June. 2) I’m going to be huge, crankier, and ready to have a baby in July. 3) I will have a newborn and be sleep deprived in August. And as we know, with any mom in that stage anything goes. The bar gets lowered to making sure everyone is fed and alive at the end of the day during that stage. Let’s just be real.
And since I have already decided that Ingrid is just going to rock the whole potty-training thing, and have it done in a week or so, we’re just going to dive in and do it in June. A bunch of the older kids will be rotating out of the house for camp, and her posse (Elias and Solveig) will be with me a bunch in the morning, and she is rarely away from them.
Oh, and somewhere in there, hopefully July, I’ll have a baby!