I have been feeling it for a while now.
The nagging worry.
A tiny flicker of fear.
The desire to head to Mexico and have a drink by the pool.
Summer is coming.
When you have a child who requires a consistent routine and struggles with change, summer break is not something you look forward to. Summer break is not really a break at all.
This year, I am determined to get ahead of it.
I have allowed summer to get us off our game for too many years and it doesn’t serve any of us well.
This year, I have a plan.
(And all the mommas started to laugh – knowing a plan that actually goes as planned is like a cup of coffee that you drink while hot, all the way through, without interruptions, or losing it half-way somewhere in the house, or leaving it in the microwave only to find it again three hours later. It’s the unicorn of motherhood.)
Summer Break For The Child Who Needs Structure
In the interest of full disclosure, I really do want to head to Mexico. I am tired. The 12 months since last summer have been some of the most difficult months of my entire life. I would love to have a summer free-for-all and chill for the next eight weeks.
Sigh. It sounds glorious, but I know better. The truth is, as much as I crave the idea of loose and unstructured time, the reality of an unstructured summer is much, much worse than just saddling up, riding the horse I’ve been given and enjoying the ride.
Although we “do school” all year-long (again, in an effort to keep our routines consistent), it will look a bit different for the summer months, for my heart and for my boys’ own growth and development.
I am gathering resources and programs for learning that feel a little bit lighter, a little less rigid and little more fun. (More on those next week.)
I am adding in just a few more field trips.
I am making life skills an actual academic focus.
I am asking my friend with a pool how often we can come to her house and night swim. (Night swims work best for my oldest son. The sensory input of the water and splashing is enough without the heat of the sun and the glare of the light on the water.)
I am anticipating a Harry Potter week, complete with movie marathons that just might get me a nap to two.
I am saving money for our electric bill so that I can run the air conditioning with abandon and not feel guilty (any peri-menopausal mom will tell you just how vital this is).
It may sound simple. I guess it is.
But summer for my family requires intention, consistency, and yes, simplicity.
Rather than focusing on what we don’t do or can’t do this summer, outlining these plans and really thinking about what will work for us is making me smile. It’s bringing joy and contentment.
I am looking forward to the summer for the first time in a long time – because I am not comparing it to anyone else’s.
Doing what works for us feels just right this year.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.