Summer break is for moms, too!

How to Use Summer to Rest and Realign

July, the dog-days of summer.

It’s hot outside, and you’ve gotten lax with screen time rules. You’re still trying to finish up your curriculum from last school year, you haven’t finished ordering yet for this year, and you aren’t sure where to start. Your kids are whiny, you’re tired, and you’re feeling frustrated: what happened to Summer break?

When a parent sends their kids to a brick and mortar school, or even an alternative or hybrid school, that school’s calendar designates a clear start and end to the school year. When the school year ends, the daily rhythm changes. And when the school year begins again in the Fall, there is again a distinct change to the daily rhythm of everyone in the house. When you are fully in charge of your days (a true benefit to homeschooling, amiright?), the school year may just sort of shift into summer without any intentionality behind it.

What this can lead to, if we aren’t careful, is an attempt to begin a new school year in the Fall without an intentional pause to regroup, to rest, and to realign.

Note: I’m primarily talking to families who follow a traditional school year, here, with a summer break between school years. But these ideas will apply to you if you’re on a year round schedule, if you use Sabbath schooling, or if you start the year in January. Whenever you have an intentional pause scheduled in your school year, you can apply these concepts.

  1. Consider your own growth.
    I know it can feel impossible to pursue your own mental or spiritual growth when surrounded by children, but as you build your children’s curriculum plan for next year, perhaps you can also assemble a Mom’s Morning Basket. I like to include my spiritual reading, and a few other books–usually something harder and something easy, so I can pick based on my mental capacities of the day.
  2. Do some deep thinking or deep creative work, unrelated to homeschooling.
    I’m learning to run a website, planning a co-op and preparing our updated Homeschool Refresh for you (coming soon)! Yes, these are related to homeschooling, but not to our daily life, and they let my brain go deep into something interesting. Perhaps for you, summer is a time to garden, redo your kitchen, or come up with a capsule wardrobe. Allow yourself the luxury of a creative project.
  3. Prepare for the coming year.
    I don’t mean shop for curriculum–though we know that might need to happen, too! I mean, instead, take care of the little tasks that cause issues during the school year. This year, for me, that means figuring out screen time limits on our router, cleaning out the art supplies, and simplifying the toy situation for my two littles. None of these are big issues, but I’ve avoided them for far too long, and I know that tending to them will help the school year go better.
  4. Take time to play with your children, outside if at all possible.
    Summer is a great opportunity to reset your relationships with your children. With fewer required tasks (co-ops, appointments, curriculum), you can prioritize reestablishing your connection to your children. When you’re connected to your kids, all the other stuff is easier. Spend some time enjoying one another.

But those feel impossible in my current situation! I don’t have time or space to do any of that!

I know. I know! It does feel that way. And yet, if you can find the way to make these things happen, it will shift the start of your school year in ways you’ll find invaluable.

Here are a few practical things you can to do make the time and space to do some deep reflection:

  • Say no to too many extra outings.
    I love the flexibility of summer, but if I say yes to every social opportunity, I don’t have time to tend to my home. Build in some margin so that you aren’t overextended.
  • Take time away by yourself.
    I know this is a luxury that cannot always be afforded, but if you can let your spouse or extended family know you need a few hours on Saturday morning, or a whole day during the week, many times you’ll find the help you need with your kids. In my home, I’m often being pulled at from several angles at once (sometimes literally) and an hour or two by myself on Saturday morning is incredible at recharging my mind.
  • Delegate and share responsibilities.
    If your children are old enough and capable, they can help with the household tasks. If you can share the management of your required tasks, the load feels a little easier.
  • Consider screen-time.
    Ew, I know, I don’t want to think about it either. We have taken a few weeks of unfettered screen-time, and it is clearly affecting my children. Sometimes I think that letting the kids use their ipads more will allow me more time to work or think deeply–and sometimes it does, but it’s like a bandaid and I almost always regret giving in to too much screen time.
  • Connect to others.
    Schedule a mom day, a night out, or just invite people over. Other homeschool moms are your best resource for friendship, connection, and encouragement. Other friends, who aren’t in the trenches with you, can sometimes offer a perspective that it’s hard to see when you’re caught up in the middle of your daily life.

The limitless feeling of an unscheduled (or not overly scheduled!) summer is such a gift we give our children, and I’m challenging us to give it to ourselves as moms, too. Summer break can be a precious time for homeschool moms to recharge, rest, and realign. We can use this time to prioritize growth, seek support, and reestablish connection. Remember, finding rest and rejuvenation during summer break is not only beneficial to you, but will also enhance your ability to create a joyful and fulfilling homeschool year for your children.