Every summer I decide we are really going to romp on it when we are done with school. I intend to sign the children up for camps, lessons, rec center crafts, VBS.
Then we finally get to summer.
We talk about the camps, lessons, and activities.
And everybody says “Yeah! Maybe later!”
Then we spend our days *literally* wallowing in free time like pigs in mud. The children thrive. They don’t build lego cities; they build lego solar systems. They don’t make forts; they make bomb shelters with complete kitchens. They don’t play outside; they live outside. They disappear into books for (I’m serious) days on end.
They experiment. They play with toys they forgot they had. They spray each other with hoses. They ride their bikes in a pack all over the property.
We let go of all sense of time other than “I’m hungry” or “I’m tired.”
We decide on a moment’s notice to go swimming, to go find Dad, to run into town.
But mostly we stay home and I work.work.work. while the children exist in summer revelry. And WOW do we love it. The way our summers always seem to end up, the more attracted I become to the principles of unschooling. My children learn and grow a great deal in the summer time when they are unfettered by too much planning or activity. I stay much more on top of my farm responsibilities (think office manager) without pressure than I can during the school year.
The house is never as clean because I’m always trying to make a project happen – cleaning out the homeschool storage, painting, rearranging furniture, gardening, freezer cooking. I also typically undertake a purge and deep clean of the children’s rooms (shudder).
There is also always a bit of off-compound activity. My Little Cowgirl went to Vacation Bible School day camp this year in June and ab.so.lute.ly. loved it. Shooter is going to his first overnight camp (two nights, three days) in July; it’s a science/robotics camp. Farmer Boy asked for horseback riding lessons and we made the call to arrange that last week. Shooter wondered out loud about taking some lessons on his horn before middle school band begins in August.
And once we get to July, I’m finishing up my planning for next year. I’m getting excited to begin again.
I’m such a gemini – a person with two distinctly different sides. As much as I adore our unscheduled summer; I look forward to the return of our regularly scheduled programming with school each morning, lessons and activities each week, short and busy weekends.
But I’m not fully there yet. Right now it’s almost nine and I’ve got to wake the children up (they stayed up late to watch all the fireworks last night) so they can go to sleep at a decent time tonight. I think I’ll let them turn PBS on as soon as they shuffle out of their rooms. And I might give them a cookie for breakfast. As for the rest of the day, we have no plans what so ever – we’ll take it as it comes.
Sweet, sweet summertime.
What does summer look like at your house?