Whether you have finally arrived at the glorious final lesson in your curriculum or you simply said, “Enough is enough!” and are done before completing the book, summer has definitely arrived. In our home, I begin daydreaming about sending the kids outside to play, spending an entire afternoon reading a book, or diving into a hobby that we have put to the side in order to conquer algebra. But all too fast August arrives, and I am simply worn out. I begin to view school as a means of “slowing down.” What happened? Where did those days and my dreams go?
For several years, summer was all work for our family. Traveling to homeschool conventions was exhausting. (Full disclosure: we did have a great deal of fun seeing the country and visiting friends.) I was delighted the first year we had the opportunity to stay at home for most of the summer. In our zeal, we bought a huge planter container to begin an herb garden! Oh, the glory!
But the excitement of a summer at home got the best of me, and I began to pack our days with more activities than our traditional school schedule. Although our outings were fun and created memories, I also discovered I was wearing myself out and draining the kids. Something had to change!
How to Avoid Overscheduling
So how do you avoid overscheduling during the fun summer months and get the rest you need to begin another school year with enthusiasm? Here are a few tips:
Plan to Rest
Planning isn’t just for school, work, or hobbies. Planning to rest is just as important. Take your wall calendar, jot down each activity that you are planning during the summer months, and step back. Do you have a few days each week to simply stay at home and rest? Each of us has different responsibilities, but making sure we have a few days each week to sip on some lemonade, read that book, and cuddle on the couch with the kiddos is crucial!
Practice Saying No
Homeschool moms tend to be the type that take things seriously and get involved. Because of this, we are also the ones that are most often asked to head up an event, cook an additional meal, or organize another play date. This summer, practice saying no to some of these obligations. You will be glad you did!
For the Children's Sake
I struggle with feeling the pressure of socialization for my children. I have to remind myself often that they do not need to be in every co-op class or attend every field trip in order to develop strong social skills. During the summer, this pressure comes from the invitation to join a sports team, endless get-togethers with friends, or involvement with church functions. Kids need time to explore the outside, read books quietly, build Legos®, and talk with parents about “stuff.” Keeping your child’s schedule under control has the benefit of keeping your days less busy.
Just Be Mom
During the summer I have to be careful because my teacher super power seems to always be “on” as I correct their use of grammar mid-sentence or instruct on the ways of a lazy man while asking about math assignments. During the summer, it’s a great season to just be mom. Give our kids a break, stop expecting, and start conversations!
Ponder & Pray
My hope is that a less hectic summer schedule will allow me to take more time to ponder. What did we accomplish this past year in school? Where did each child excel or struggle? Did specific character flaws or strengths show this year in each child? Having the time to ponder these questions allows us to seek wisdom from the Lord as we plan for the upcoming year.
Summer is a time for rest, and I believe that rest can be just as productive (and sometimes more) than work. Each year, I’m determined to use my summer to rest up and gain more insight. Get to know my kids better, be more pleasant with a less crazy schedule, and return to the next school year with enthusiasm. Won’t you join me?