Hooray, summer is here! I personally love this season because we can roll through the day with more simplicity than during the school year. This image of my children at the table, with my youngest Landon on top of the table, is quite an accurate image of our homeschool rhythm September through June.
Although, another accurate image would be of a child wanting to write on their sibling, or the wall. And I would be silly to not include someone having a melt down… Oh, you think I’m talking about a child losing their self-control? Oh no, even I have melt downs. Seriously, Jesus I need you.
All jokes aside, we are thrilled summer is here and our family can practice a different type of schedule the next three months. Routine is important, but so is living within the different spectrums of color. Don’t be afraid to welcome change!
I’ve learned taking a break from our responsibilities is best enjoyed when we understand why this is such a treat. Resting in between working hard yields a beautiful harvest. Having something to look forward to propels us to finish our prior commitments well. Hope is “a friend” I like to keep in my pocket.
Is she in your pocket?
Today I’m sharing a peek into our summer schedule with the hope it encourages you to see these next few months as an opportunity for a different kind of enjoyment, rest, and learning. Right now, as I share this post, my children are ages 7 years old, 5.5 years, 4 years and 2 years. They are young in age, close in age, and my goal is for us to thrive as a family of six.
As you welcome summer into your home, remember you are capable of loving your family well. The gifts you have, lean into them. The challenges you experience, learn from them.
If a particular area of “summer at home” feels overwhelming to you, listen to your mind — what can you add or remove to make your time together even more peaceable? What nudges are you experiencing? Now is a great time to make positive changes, since you likely have more time & less commitments.
Alright, that’s it for the chit-chat; let’s dive in!
OUR DAILY SUMMER SCHEDULE with young children:
4:30am: Parents wake up! Goooood morning, good lookin’! ;)
4:30-7am: Bible study, read, worship, Zack & Maggie quality time together
7-8am: Our children wake up! Quiet play, morning chores, make breakfast
8:30-9:30am: Eat breakfast, change clothes, brush hair & teeth, simple learning lesson (depending on the child’s age, we work on writing, spelling, numbers/ABCs, math, colors, art)
9:30am-12pm: Family walk, outside play, visit a park or nature preserve, morning snack
Noon: Lunch, read aloud at the table, tidy our home
1-2pm: Quiet time is practiced most days each week; each child takes a stack of books to their bed
1-3:30pm: Landon naps (2yo)
2-4:30pm: Free play! Play-Doh, puzzles, art, books, LEGOs, dolls, more outside time, afternoon snack
4:30-5:15pm: I make dinner
5:30pm: Let’s eat dinner!
6-7:30pm: Family time, baths, read aloud, tidy our home
7:30-8:30pm: Landon goes to bed (2yo), then the girls (ages 4yo & 5.5yo), then Maxwell (7yo)
9/10pm: Parents to bed!
Now, this isn’t a hard & firm schedule for us, I do learn more towards flexibility. However, after evaluating how we usually spend our days I was able to note some reoccurring activities so I jotted them down and taped them to a kitchen wall. It helps me to have something to reference, especially when I’m feeling tired ;)
A family rule we generally practice is no television / screens before 4pm, and even so this is not a daily activity. We also moved our television to the basement and traded it’s presence for a large bookshelf in the living room. I want to normalize reading and learning. Often, my children see me reading throughout the day. Reading isn’t a punishment or a “boring activity”, it’s a living practice in our home. Because of this I make an effort to read with and near my children.
A few more thoughts to share regarding our summer schedule with four young children…
When we’ve had a particularly full / tiring day, I prefer to bathe my children before I prepare dinner. Then they can rest with a short television show, or listen to an audio book, as I prepare dinner. Or they can play with their toys! This is a gentle way to help us close the day well.
After dinner, our general plan is for the kiddos to stay inside so we can wrap up our day together and get ready for bed. Like I mentioned, my four children range from ages of 2 years to 7 years old, so some of them may play in our backyard, but overall we are winding down and preparing for bedtime.
Now that the weather is nice, we definitely amp up our daytime outside time. I have found the more often I play with my children the happier they are, and the more content they are to play alone with siblings throughout the day. Sometimes it’s as simple as sitting nearby while they’re playing, other times I actively push them on the swings, draw with chalk, kick the soccer ball, etc. I’ve come to realize how calming (and necessary) my presence is for them.
Also, creating shady places outside has been incredibly helpful for our family. I pay attention to the way the sun moves around the sky and our yard, and help them with their playtime choices. For example, I prefer we take a long walk in the morning before exhaustion takes over and their bodies are tired from a full day of play. In the afternoon, during the high heat of the day, I’ve realized our backyard is nearly full-shade, so that is an excellent time for us to be at home to play on the swing set, slide, or with the mud kitchen.
Take a few days to notice the natural sunlight patterns in your yard. How can you help them want to play outside? What interests do your children have? What do you want to experience with them this summer? Make a list of a couple things you want to practice together, then begin.
In the morning, before the neighborhood wakes up and our tempers have unfurled, we do a simple learning lesson together at the table. Depending on the age of my child, they work through one activity. My aim is to keep this fun and light during the summer months as they maintain what’s been taught during the school year. We choose from writing, spelling, numbers/ABCs, math, colors, and art.
Lastly, let’s talk about meals during the summer months. I have been on a big “picnic style” kick where I serve easy, wholesome meals for lunch and dinner. I love the freshness of this style of meal, plus the simplicity has been a comfort as the day ends and I have to work harder to control my patience.
Deli meats, cheeses, fresh fruit, vegetables, hummus, zesty pickles, kalamata olives, fresh bread (French or Italian from the bakery), nuts, homemade chicken salad, popcorn — perhaps a few cookies as a treat, these are all things I love to serve. I’ll put everything on a large tray, hand out some plates, and invite my children to feast! They love this style of meal.
For dinner time, we have been big on grilling burgers, hot dogs, marinated chicken. My focus is to mostly grab food from the refrigerator, not the pantry. Quick and easy can also be wholesome and healthy. And for a dinner side, I pair our protein with a large salad or what I’d serve with lunch (see above).
What is your favorite summer activity? What family traditions do you practice? How do you play together as a family? What books are you reading, what creative games are your children making up? Tell me, what time do you go to bed?
May this summer season bring you joy, peace, and plenty of feasts. Inspiration is all around you!