Summer rhythm

I blinked & it is July.  And it is hot.  Stupid hot.  Most adventures these days include a water destination. Various park fountains, grandma’s pool, Deam Lake (I don’t believe in curses), Atlantis.  We do not venture outside without getting wet!

A morning of swimming, a Smurf’s marathon in the afternoon, & the evening spent playing in the rain as Paul makes ice cream on the back porch.  Could there be a better summer day?  Very nice indeed.

We had a lovely July 4th weekend, Paul & I.  Driving the kids over for three nights at their grandma’s house, we were singing along to Pumped Up Kicks at top volume (Si totally nails the whistle verse & amazes us all!) & I’m not sure who was more excited about the weekend.  Although Paul & I were working, selling soap at the Crescent Hill Fest, it was a very nice change to hang out with him minus the littles.  The show was busy, the people were kind, the fireworks were…so so.  I know some folks in a valley east of here who could show them a thing or two about fireworks!

Anyhow, on to my point.  Our days.  We do little seat work or schooly stuff lately, as we are so busy going.  Long days, new adventures, market weekends…make for a lack of rhythm, or maybe this is our new summer rhythm.  Vastly different from our winter rhythm.

Finding our rhythm was a true lifesaver for me when the kids were younger, as a consistent flow to the day makes for happy babies.  When the days are familiar, with predictable times for play, work, eat, sleep…it allows for peaceful transitions, a sense of safety & comfort.  Less chaos.

If you know Waldorf, this is familiar.  Researching teaching methods, learning about the Waldorf philosophy, I was particularly drawn to this concept of rhythm in the home.  It’s common sense really, & works beautifully.  The gentle nature of many Waldorf ideas really do appeal to me.  But digging a bit deeper into anthroposophy reveals a doctrine which smacks a bit religious for my family’s tastes (Ahh, but that is a post for another day).  So I take what I like from Waldorf & leave the other.

My babes & I settled into our rhythm, which varied a bit from season to season, but didn’t change much until this year.  This summer, the kids have truly blossomed & show such independence & lust for life!  I love this freedom!  But it doesn’t exactly feel like a flow.  Late breakfasts, missed naps, way-past-bedtime lightning bug hunts, & when was the last time we practiced phonics (shame on me)?

I wonder if my wild embrace of this new freedom, enjoying kids no longer burdened by strollers & diapers & random meltdowns, might have taken us a little too far from a rhythm & into chaos country.  Next month, as we settle back into our school days (school days that are, in fact, more structured than I have previously attemped), will the transition be smooth?  I wonder how to gently guide us back to that place.

Many homeschool families do so year-round & I can certainly see the benefit in that method.  Avoiding the jarring starts & stops.  But on the other hand, I feel compelled to follow the seasons, & right now the season is ripe with life, a time of breathing out.  I do not worry that my kids are not learning.  Learning, of course, happens even when we do not sit around the table, pencils in hands.  I only wonder how I will get back to the table when the time comes for breathing in.  And into a four-day school week no less!

I suppose I will begin in early August, to again set aside time in our mornings, for some seat work, some review of math & phonics, some crafts.  A gradual transition into our kindergarten year.

But until then, we will continue to fly by the seats of our pants.  Because, at this moment, I am kind of consumed with vacation list-making, packing & planning.  That’s right folks, soon the Browns are embarking on a great adventure.  My very first attempt at a bonafide vacation with all four of my children!  We are going to…drumroll please…the beach.  Yea I know, the same mid-summer destination as everyone else who lives in a landlocked state.  We are going to the lovely lovely Outer Banks for a week.  The beautiful island where Dustin & I spent our last vacation together, when Silas was but a wee little bean in my belly, when Piper & Esther were unimagined, six years ago.  Six years between beach vacations is about five years too long.

I am absolutely giddy with excitement, I can hardly tolerate myself!  I just imagine the moment my little kids first set eyes upon the ocean…it will be wonderful.  Can’t wait.  Now, the drive down, piled six deep in the minivan, that part I’m not so much excited about.


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