Who Said Summer was Easy?

Maybe nobody said that. Maybe I just made that up.

I think I was trying to make that up at least.

I had this great vision of summer being lazy, carefree, relaxing, and peaceful. Except for when it would be adventurous, exciting, enriching, character building, and memory inducing. I was all ready to start summer on Day One. No formal school (just the usual constant learning.) No schedules, no deadlines. Just summer.

But I forgot one major thing.

I’m a mom.

I’m a mom of 5 little children. I forgot that moms don’t get vacations.

I know, I know! It’s not like I’m completely new at this! How could I forget? I think it was just wishful thinking that my budding independent children would take care of themselves and, I don’t know… maybe the other kids too?

Ok, that was too much to ask. Or at least hope.

So things didn’t really start out how I was hoping, and I started summer in a bad mood. My endless hours of just reading book after book on the couch just weren’t meant to be, and it kind of made me grumpy! Don’t you ever feel like YOU deserve a break, too? Don’t you think that summer break wasn’t just made for the students, but for the teachers, too? When do we get to stop and just do nothing? Or at least do something exclusively for the rest, relaxation, and recuperation of ourselves and just ourselves? I have a friend and neighbor who teaches 3rd grade and she always laughs (in a sad, yet somehow also ticked off, sort of way) and says, “Who says teacher’s get summers off?”

Well, moms don’t get summers off either. (In case you forgot, too.)

Anyway, I asked a bunch of other homeschool moms what they do to help them transition from the scheduled, busy, action packed days to the more slow paced, children led,  do-what-we-want days. Many of them said they just kept doing school through the summer.

Uh…that was not my favorite answer.

But others suggested giving the kids a more relaxed schedule, with chores, gardening, yard work, etc. Or doing just one subject, like nature studies, that was more conducive to summer time weather, instead of scrapping everything all together.

But my whole thing was, I didn’t want to schedule things for my kids. I wanted them to take the initiative and do it themselves. I suppose that isn’t such a far fetched idea. And, really, eventually we will get to it. But it was the transition time that was kicking my rear. I was so ready to just switch gears. Alas, the children were not.

Transition. Next year, I am going to remember the transition. I’d been preparing myself mentally for weeks for these blessed, lazy months. But my kids, apparently, had not. And it didn’t go over so well when I just dropped summer in their laps and told them to have a good time.

Here is how our summer is looking, though, so far. It is actually a far cry from the smooth, lazy, lemonade-sipping, front-porch sitting, firefly watching days/evenings I was envisioning. (For one, we don’t have a front porch, and two, although I just learned there are fireflies in Utah, I have never actually seen one.)

The first two weeks of summer were sports camp! It’s like a suped up P.E. for 2 hours a day, 4 days a week. The kids love it! My (now) 1st grader was a little apprehensive at first. He was worried that there would be reading involved. But after day one he was sold! This is maybe our 3rd year with this program.

Then we had a week break. (And by break I mean we were still really busy, but our own kind of busy. We’ll get to get to that in a minute.)

And starting today we have two weeks of swim lessons! My sweet preschooler FINALLY gets to take swim lessons and he is thrilled beyond belief that this year he can actually get in the pool with the other kids instead of wait patiently on the lawn chairs with mom and baby. My challenge now is to keep my 2 year old from escaping my grasp and jumping into the pool while the other kids are swimming. (It might be a long two weeks, now that I consider it.)

Also, my parents came into town to attend missionary training! I have missionary parents!! Before they went in for training, we made sure we snuck a good hike in there with grandpa. I took him on the best local hike I knew. (Too bad everyone else and their dog – I am not even kidding, I have never seen so many dogs on a trail in my life – decided to go, too.) Still, it was lots of fun.

Here is that awesome trail! No dogs pictured – but we did see two moose right up close! (A little too close for my comfort – I didn’t use zoom on that photo!)

And here are those two missionaries off to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and share the Good News! A lot of people are in need of all three of those things right now. (So two photos: one when we dropped them off at the Missionary Training Center, and another the week after when they came back to get their bikes out of our garage. The reason for the second is because I look HORRIBLE in the first and I do have enough vanity in me to post a good pic of myself every once in a while.  And look at that fat baby!! Healthy. I mean healthy. Yeah, try lugging those chubby chubs in a hiking backpack. Not easy.)

My daughter has her choir tour this week. That means we are spending 3 full days (maybe part of a 4th) in Salt Lake City. I have no idea how this is going to work. Somehow we have got to be up in the city at 8:00 am every day, but we won’t be ready to come back home until about 10:00 pm. To say we will be tired is probably a gross understatement. I’m hoping the adrenaline of rehearsals, concerts, recordings, etc. keeps us going until Sunday – Oh! That blessed day of rest. I have a feeling we will need it more than ever this week. (Here are two songs arranged for and performed by her choir – although the children’s chorus doesn’t sing in either of these two pieces. If you need some music to help you feel the spirit of the Sabbath, try these right here!)

The good news is there are relatively long breaks between rehearsals and concerts, so it’s going to be a really big “Girls Retreat” at the same time. We’re going to hit up the zoo, maybe the aquarium, and hopefully stop by Grammy’s to take a nap and do some laundry – and take a shower. (Maybe we should have just gotten a hotel.)

But my biggest news – I don’t know, it’s big for me – is I started a hiking group on Facebook for homeschoolers in my end of the county. Every week I’ve been hosting a hike and inviting other members of the group to host hikes as well. We’ve done 4 trails so far and there is a hike in the works for next week (this week I will just be trekking back and forth to Salt Lake City instead.) It has been a lot of fun to explore new trails and meet new people. I don’t know how my area compares, but I feel like there are a lot of homeschoolers around here. I love connecting with other homeschooling moms and seeing what they are doing, how awesome their kids are, and getting new ideas and help with things I am struggling with, but that they have already gotten a pretty good grip on. Also, I’ve realized my children are learning leadership when I start groups, head up adventures, and plan outings for other people. I never realized it until the other day when one of them said something about it, but yes, I guess I am teaching by example how to lead, support, encourage, and develop friendships out in the community. Bonus points for me!

Plus I am addicted to hiking.

Hike 1 – Dripping Rock

Hike 2: The Grotto

Hike 3: Some unnamed waterfall out in the woods at the end of an unmarked trail. 🙂

Hike 4: Devil’s Kitchen (A.K.A. Little Bryce Canyon) – this is more like a short nature walk with stunning views. (Kind of wild that both the red rock and the snow capped mountain were seen from the same .2 mile stretch of trail!)

So last summer’s campaign, A Hike A Week (AHAW) has been scrapped for the 2017 version, Hike it Homeschoolers (HiH).

And that baby and in the hiking backpack hasn’t gotten any lighter, let me tell ya.

In summary… how do you summarize a rather random hodge podge of only semi-related ideas?

In summary, our slip into summer was a little rocky. There are some things that I still feel need a little work (like my summer induced aversion to any and all forms of work whatsoever – I know that one has to go, but it’s just so hard to do anything about. Just being honest, here.) But many things are going really well. Although similar to last year, summer 2017 has its own flavor already, just like school year 2017-2018 will have its own flavor, too.

And I’ll be a little more prepared to anticipate and navigate the next transitions.

But I won’t start worrying about it just yet. I’ve still got a full glass of lemonade here calling my name. 🙂

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