If you’re reading this, chances are your season of life and mine look pretty similar. I have littles (ages six and three), and I’m starting to think about what we’ll be doing over the summer break. Full disclosure: at the time of this writing, I’m seven months pregnant with baby number three and require simplicity in order to stay sane. Therefore, instead of a list of crafts or unit study ideas for you and your littles to do together, I’d like to propose five things for you not to do in order to get the most out of your summer break.
1. Don’t Make Big Plans
The ordinary is truly special.
This obviously excludes any vacation and zoo trips already on your calendar. What I mean is that you don’t need to fill up your days with excursions and in-depth activities to make the most of the summer. Oftentimes, ordinary events will be just as fun for littles. By simplifying your plans, it’s also much easier to maintain a daily routine without having to skip a lot of naps or be out and about at an inconvenient time.
Our backyard is a treasure trove of bugs and butterflies and fun. Picking strawberries near our home is a delight, and they taste delicious. Neither requires serious planning, yet much joy will be had, and we will still be able to do bath and bedtime by eight o’clock.
2. Don’t Do It Alone
Do it with your community.
If you’re already in a Classical Conversations community, you know what a gift it is to have other parents classically educating their kids alongside you. Even more than school, being in a community often blossoms into friendships that can last a lifetime, and I encourage you to spend time with your CC friends over the summer, whatever you decide to do. Here’s why:
It’s easier. Mother your brood of chicks together.
It’s more fun. Your kids love community as much as you.
It’s memorable. You won’t forget what you did with others.
In my experience, it has always been worth it to invite others along, and we come home blessed by the fellowship and adventures had with friends.
3. Don’t Overcomplicate It
Keep it simple.
Think of something you and your littles enjoy doing together during the school year. For my boys, it’s read-alouds. During formal schooling, we usually work our way through slightly-above reading level books and try to maintain one or two chapters each day.
It would be crazy if we did not read books in summer (insert that something that your family enjoys), but in order to keep it simple, we’ll opt for short stories and poems from the Copper Lodge Series. It probably won’t be every day (or even the same time of day), and nobody is required to sit and listen beyond when the wiggles kick in. The real goal is simply to keep at it so we don’t completely lose touch with a sound schedule and having something to look forward to.
If there’s something you do a bit more rigorously in your homeschool, I want you to try this approach over the summer. You will be able to stay motivated to keep doing your favorite school activities without them taking over your entire break. Another great resource for simple, laid-back summer learning is Scribblers at Home.
4. Don’t Squeeze Out a Lesson
Allow the experience to be the real exemplar.
This idea really piggybacks off of point #3, but it definitely stands on its own as well.
It’s totally natural for us homeschooling parents to want everything to make sense, or have a point, or have a lesson associated with it. I’m suggesting that for littles, we try taking a step back when it comes to lesson-finding and really allow a lot of space for natural discovery to occur. You will be amazed at the observation skills of the youngest members of your family and what they will glean from simply experiencing summertime.
Let summer be a time of wonder.
5. Don’t Doubt What You’re Already Doing
Trust that your doings are meaningful.
I have stressed over past summers not being “enough” just to find that my boys would chatter on at bedtime about the great fun they were having.
Even if your summer is spent entirely in the backyard with the neighbor kid who likes to invite herself over; even if you only make it to the beach one time and collect a few broken seashells; even if at the end of each day you can’t remember what exactly happened—trust that God has faithfully taken your humble offering and turned it into something beautiful and worthy of celebration.
So kick back, relax, and enjoy not doing these things over the summer!
Interested in learning more about Scribblers at Home? Check out this short video!