One of the things that I have learned about myself in eleven years of parenting, is that I am easily distracted and driven off on wild rabbit trails! Any time we have the opportunity to just let things go, I will take it, and I always regret the long term results. Summer is a prime example of this: my heart and mind say ” oh let everything ease up” and the result is chaos. Projects are started and abandoned, children forget the most basic rules, and September is a cruel wrench to everyone’s system.
A couple of years ago I was talking to my mother and discovered that she had the same problem when we were growing up. Anytime she just let things go how they would even the essentials were neglected and she was left feeling like she had done nothing because the dreams of accomplishment she had never turned into executable plans. She said, ” I found I had to schedule the “time off” because otherwise I couldn’t figure out which of the things I wanted to do, I should start with.”
Yup. Me too.
Each year since then, I’ve tried a bit harder to devise a “loose but productive” schedule for our “non-academically focused seasons”.
In Advent, we use the regular lesson hours for hand crafts and gift making. We create special memories as we enjoy the freedom to create within the structure of set hours for that kind of work.
Summer is similar.
I want to spend time enjoying the outdoors during the brief New England summer, yet we also have household projects and some lessons that need to continue lest skills grow rusty. These aims combined with the daily tasks that keep a busy household functioning are the functions that drive our schedule.
Recently I changed our major chore time from the end to the beginning of the day. This simple switch has made lessons and supper prep time more peaceful, so I’m going to keep that in place.
Morning Time is a good pause in our morning to gather, and learn together. We keep it simple: the children color or do a simple craft of their choosing while I read from a book of saints and a chapter of Proverbs. Let’s keep that too, but add in some singing practice and learning of hymns.
Everyone needs to keep up their math skills, so that will come next along with reading practice for the little boys, Anatomy for Mouse since she is enjoying the course so much, and art or a music lesson for those who are ready to learn and willing to practice. Perhaps an hour and a half of lessons on most days.
After that we are free to go visit friends, go to the creek where we like to swim, or go farther afield, perhaps returning in time for a nap for the toddler or staying out until supper time. Other days, we will work on household projects ( I have some bedrooms to paint and there is always yardwork) or do creative stuff at home.
I’m hoping to hire a mother’s helper one morning a week, so I can focus on some much needed office work, but otherwise our days should flow about like this for the most part. A related form to that of our school days but more relaxed and hopefully rejuvenating and refreshing to all.