Monday, June 30, 2014

Our First Real Summer Vacation Ever

A month ago I had grand plans to continue our schooling all summer.  I've done homeschool lite every summer since David started school.  Math and reading every day we are home, with some science and history thrown in when I have time.  But then I realized I was completely done with school.  While I wasn't experiencing burnout, my kids were.  And my school year of being "sick" and too tired to do much had left me with a really messy house and yard in need of some major TLC.  I prayed and decided it was time to give my kids a real summer.  No school.  No structure.  Just an open day with endless time to play and be creative.  My kids didn't even know what that meant.

The whining of boredom commenced immediately.  I ignored it and told the kids they could fold a hamper of laundry if they were incapable of finding something to do.  Magically they found a game or project to do.

See, I don't cater to my kids' boredom and I never have.  I want them to be bored.  Because boredom makes them turn to new things for entertainment that they generally avoid during the school year.  Books they'd never read unless they were desperate.  Games they're too busy to play when there are other things to do.  My basement is completely filled with a fort the kids built where they play for hours every day, even reading and having their prayer times in their own little beds they've made for themselves.

Making their own Pokemon game

My kids have spent many hours up in our climbing tree.  Hours laying on a blanket watching the clouds.  They paint my driveway with water.  They draw.  Make up games.  This afternoon they asked if they could create their own drinks--which were just really disgusting sounding smoothies involving fruit, tons of cinnamon and a little stevia.  I averted my eyes to the mess they made, happy that they had found an outlet for their creative minds.

Joy teaching Lizzy how to fry an egg--the latest accomplishment for both girls

All this unlimited free time has made me discover a few things about my family.

1. My kids are not used to so much free time.  While I've always summer schooled with good intentions, I'm beginning to realize that maybe dealing with regression is a small price to pay for my kids having the time to discover new hobbies, new games, new books.

2. My kids lead a very structured life.  I've always had a routine and structure to our days.  Always.  My kids could depend on the same daily routine and an almost always same weekly routine.  Not any more.  I can't tell you when we will make it to the library or the grocery store this week.  And I don't care.  We'll go when it's desperate (we're nearly there).  It's good for my kids to have their routine shaken up.  Teaches them to be spontaneous.

3. My kids are creative geniuses.  Up until now I have always wondered if my kids were a little abnormal in that they don't come up with make believe games, stories, or other similar things the way I did as a kid.  They do, but not nearly as much as I did.  But now I can see that I have just never given them the time to be bored enough to get their creative juices flowing fully.

Making Perler bead creations

4. My kids fight when they are bored.  This took me a few days to figure out.  David was constantly pestering the girls just to make them mad.  Hubby pointed out that David just didn't know what to do with himself.  Oh.  So maybe some structure is necessary.  Boo.  Today I decided I would play a game with David.  I don't like games but David does, so I was speaking his love language.  We played Rummy.  Then the girls saw us playing and wanted to play, too.  So we all played Rummy.  This afternoon I read 10 chapters from "The Sign of the Beaver" to the kids before I finally called it quits.  We usually only make it through 2 or 3 before the kids are done.  Guess their attention spans are improved when they have nothing else to do.  Right now they are outside having a squirt gun fight.  And I am choosing not to care that my house is going to get wet when they're done.

5. We all needed a break.  I thought I was fine and could do school all summer.  But after 3 weeks off, I've discovered I needed this time.  To read.  To just sit and stare out the window.  To work on a project when the inspiration strikes.  To have the freedom to drop everything and meet a friend at the park for the afternoon.  To not care that things aren't getting done.  To paint.  Yup, I am going to attempt painting on an actual canvas this week.  It's been about 25 years since I've tried.

I averted my eyes to this little mess--
and made them sweep up the sandy mess in my bathroom

This summer is nothing like anything we've ever done before, but it's exactly what we needed.  So if you decide to drop by unexpectedly, don't be surprised to find three monkeys up a tree, laundry all over the living room, and projects in various state of completeness all over my dining room table.  Because that's how we roll this summer around here.

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