Summer’s precious offer
The door of summer has swung wide open. Every day we practice the age-old parenting art of turning the kids loose. We turn them loose at the river, the overgrown alley behind our house, our grubby, chickened-up backyard, and in our neighborhood, where they become a roving band of child explorers seeking trampolines and the best household snacks.
My own ambitions seem to be falling away like dandelion seeds unhusked by the wind. I’ve put aside projects which just two months ago seemed wrapped up in my very identity, in my blurry notion of success.
There is something about summer, perhaps in observing how every living thing performs its own, particular miracle—squash blossom receiving honeybees—without undue stress or striving, that inspires me to let up on myself. In fact, summer seems to be making me an offer: If it’s not easy and fun, try letting it go and see what happens.
This means we’ve dropped homeschooling with workbooks, agendas and expectations. I am not taking work that doesn’t feel fun and engaging (and, interestingly, fun and engaging work keeps presenting itself). The garden feels more like a collaborative effort between myself and a few trillion microorganisms than something I need to engineer into a semblance of control.
And surely there are times for great effort. But now seems the time to allow, to sink in, to trust, to enjoy, to let the e-mails pile up and go camping while the sun is high; to suck the time-limited nectar of a columbine flower; to pause for celebration of a ripe garden tomato; to crack a beer and plant myself by Col’s side as he hot-glues a model airplane and unleashes a torrent of unsolicited sharing that fills me with connection. To understand that this season is fleeting and filled with precious gifts.
The kids are on board, because of course, this is the way they always, wisely, live. Whenever I get jacked up over What’s the Summer Homeschooling Plan? I stop, breathe and take a look at Col and Rose, who are each on their own unstoppable trajectory of learning.
Here is a guest post I wrote for Simple Homeschool on how we homeschool in the summer. I have to re-read it frequently, to remind myself.