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Summer’s precious offer

2015 July 24
by Rachel Turiel


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.

3 sisters9

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.


Also, the serviceberries are ripe, which are my favorite wild food on this gorgeous planet.
Trustingly yours,
p.s. Thank you for sharing this post with your friends. Thank you also for interest in an online Peaceful Parenting Course. What I can offer now to non-locals is phone call consultations in which we work with your particular parenting issues. Contact me to set up.
p.p.s Still a few spots left in the upcoming Edible Weeds class, July 29th, though I suspect it will fill soon. Go here for more details. ETA: Only 2 spots left!

11 Responses leave one →
  1. Mollie permalink
    July 24, 2015

    A resounding, yes!

  2. Andrea permalink
    July 24, 2015

    I am so not succeding at any of this right now. The letting go. The enjoying of the offering. I’m still in control mode. Yikes. I’m putting the homeschool workbook away. At least after today’s lesson.

  3. Susan S permalink
    July 24, 2015

    Like Rose said about your friend, Maja a little while ago: To be willing. :-)

  4. July 24, 2015

    I adore summer preciously because of the letting go factor and the ability to stop everything and crack a beer while enjoying a beautifully sunny day.

  5. July 24, 2015

    I’m wanting to let go into summer like this, but I can’t quite let go of the work that I took on thinking it would be easy though maybe not fun. The best I’ve done is to step out each morning, coffee in hand, and walk my gardens, sit with them watching the bees in the cilantro gone to flower and self-seeded poppies and cosmos. Tonight my husband got the kayak in the water with my little one and I sat and breathed in the calm of the lake.

  6. July 25, 2015

    Here in Texas summer pretty much sucks. We head outside and let go in late fall, winter, and early spring. However, we do not have a homeschool schedule in summer because we go on trips to lakes, beaches, rivers, etc. and hang out with friends and family who do go to school and are now free. Swimming must be involved. Anyway, we are looking forward to October when we can finally go camping again…but still enjoying our summer with friends and family.

  7. Ring permalink
    July 26, 2015

    Tell me about what to do with serviceberries! I planted a little tree last fall but thought those lovely little berries were for my avian friends. I’ll try to leave them some :-)

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      July 26, 2015

      Devour raw and fresh-picked.

  8. Cait permalink
    July 27, 2015

    That picture of Col and Rose by the campfire – they look so much like the slouchy, long-legged teenagers they’ll soon be! Why don’t kids ever stop growing?!

  9. July 28, 2015

    someday we’ll have a beer together and toast blurry notions of success, dandelion seeds, and the wind. xoxo

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