Summer non-boredom

How do you keep your kids occupied during the summer?

The thought had just never occurred to me until I read it earlier this week in a comment on a blog somewhere (I honestly don't remember where). I'm paraphrasing but it went something like this "I think summer is hard for a lot of moms" and it was in reference to what to do with the kids now that school is out. And the adjustment to having the kids home every day when you're used to having your own time.

morning jump on the trampoline

Wow, this is definitely not my world and that's just one of the reasons I love homeschooling. We greet the arrival of summer with much joy and anticipation. Even mom!

We dropped the bookish stuff a good two months ago already and have spent that time instead in the garden and outdoors or working on creative projects and hundreds of other little things that I can't remember right now.

River boat to Swan Island: field trip I organized this month
homeschool field trip I organized this month

My children are not used to having their days dictated by a school schedule and curriculum requirements. Instead our days follow the cycle of the seasons, pursuing individual and family goals and dreams.

Sure they get bored from time to time, especially during the rain of this last week. But I feel very strongly that my job as mother is not fill their days with activity after activity - outings, crafts, playdates, fieldtrips, sports, you name it. Because after all, a lot of life is making meals, cleaning up and doing things that need to get done.

our 3rd garden strawberry

My husband directed me to this ParentCentral.ca article a couple weeks ago and again I hear the same sentiment echoed in this Camp Creek blog post on Empty Hours. I don't worry about keeping my kids occupied this summer and I haven't registered them for day camps, craft camps, sport camps or bible camps.

Rainy day sewing

Instead we'll pick berries, go to the beach, spend hours roaming the fields at the farm, go to the farmer's market downtown, sew, paint and sculpt together, meet up with friends, ride bikes, jump on the trampoline, visit ponds, go to the library, work and play in our gardens, maybe take swim lessons at a lake, hike every weekend, camp in our yard, at the ocean and in the mountains.

And in between all that there will be lots of down time, even some boring time, because life isn't always non-stop fun. There's laundry, meals, errands and rainy days. But it's all the good stuff in between that makes summer so delicious and full. And so no, never once have I thought "what am I going to do with these kids all summer?".

Snail buddies: sharing their finds

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  • kyndale

    kyndale on June 16, 2009, 10:37 p.m.

    we love the freedom of summer. My daughter goes to a Montessori charter school and she loves it. But it is a transition in the summer having everyone home. I do what my other two sons do which is doing stuff that's fun and educational. But I don't feel like I'm a cruise director or anything. Things just kind of fall into our laps and we go with it.

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  • Shawna

    Shawna on June 17, 2009, 5:14 a.m.

    whew, i could write so much on this post! it's what i hope to some day create. tracey clark (traceyclark.com) just recently did a post about the start of summer (maybe you saw that one on shutter sisters?), and it opened my eyes to what a huge transition some families experience in june. especially work at home moms who suddenly have a house full of kids!

    i'm looking forward to learning all year. i always hated getting looked down on for wanting to learn during the summer. children shouldn't have to hide curiosity.

    (and those strawberries! yum, i just ate my third one as well. someone else has been eating the others. whether it's my uncle or a squirrel has yet to be determined.)

    Shawna's last blog post... savoring: baby love

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    • renee

      renee on June 17, 2009, 11:16 a.m.

      I actually didn't see that post but I'm not surprised. I see that sentiment in a lot of mommy blogs these days.

      Not for me babe - I love summer, fall, winter & spring at home with my kiddos!

      reply

  • HomegrownLife

    HomegrownLife on June 17, 2009, 12:23 p.m.

    I too embrace the lazy days of summer with my children. No dread or fear of "what to do" with them to keep occupied. In fact, just the opposite! Your summer plans sound perfect... enjoy yourselves!

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  • Jamie

    Jamie on June 17, 2009, 5:50 p.m.

    I'm not a mother yet but I have to say it's very refeshing to hear about your parenting style. Thanks for sharing!

    I'm jealous of your strawberries. The birds keep snagging ours before we can get to them!

    Jamie's last blog post... James | Anytime Photos

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  • Simple Kids

    Simple Kids on June 17, 2009, 6:55 p.m.

    "And in between all that there will be lots of down time, even some boring time, because life isn't always fun."

    I think that's the struggle for many moms - this feeling that if our kids aren't occupied in some kind of meaningful, educational, learning, growing ACTIVITY every second of the day, then we aren't doing are jobs. I know I fall into that thinking very easily. This post helped me get a grip on reality and what life at home should be about. Very timely for me. Thank you.

    reply

  • steadymom

    steadymom on June 18, 2009, 6:20 p.m.

    An emphatic agreement here from me! We 'school' year-round anyways, but our school is just life and it's all learning and growing and loving, and being - in all seasons!

    Jamie

    steadymom's last blog post... Introducing My Sponsors

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  • Kristina

    Kristina on June 20, 2009, 3:06 a.m.

    This article soooo far is my FAVORITE one. I really enjoyed reading it. Can't wait to experience all of this with my little one on the way... and hopefully future little ones :)

    reply

  • Nicole

    Nicole on June 20, 2009, 4:13 a.m.

    I love this post and the philosophy behind it...one of many very significant 'pros' of homeschooling which I am so very thankful for! Nicole

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  • Trisha

    Trisha on June 20, 2009, 2:07 p.m.

    I absoslutely love this post! I recently had a phone conversation with a friend who is a teacher home for the summer with her two young children. Listening to her struggles, I was so thankful that Grace is a part of my everyday life, all day. I love that she's learning, even at two, about the joys of everyday, simple life. Great post!

    Trisha's last blog post... Edit, Add, Appreciate- June 14

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  • Denise

    Denise on July 19, 2009, 11:16 p.m.

    I was just discussing this with my mom this morning! My kids are "de-scheduling" after my just leaving my job to be home with them. It is taking some time to de-schedule them but it is worth a bit of complaining. Actually, I was thinking of sending my 13 year old to camp at the end of August but you may have just changed my mind. Plus, I would save $300.00 !

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  • Ann

    Ann on June 23, 2012, 12:54 a.m.

    We homeschool year-round, and I love summer as well because it means a different type of learning than we do from September-May. Lots of great opportunities during the summer that we take advantage of - especially the free programs at the state parks throughout the state.

    reply

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