*I originally published this post three years ago. We no longer have an official summer learning program (although our rising high school junior will be working on algebra/geometry and Spanish on her own this summer).
And while I’m working on a reading list for her as well, it definitely looks different for her at 16.
However, I need to keep these five things top of mind this summer just as much as I did back then!*
The countdown is on!
We are wholeheartedly looking forward to the end of the school year. Just a few more days to go!
I’ve created a summer learning program and written out reading lists for my girls. But I know that within the first week, things can take a turn for the worse! Settling into a different routine and figuring out how best to spend our less-regulated days can take a little getting used to.
As the summer progresses, I’m hoping to remind myself often of these five ways to make the most of these few months. When school starts again in late August, I want us to look back over a summer in which we’ll have created new memories and enjoyed the time we had together.
1. Realize that our children will never be this age again. This is the only summer ever that I’ll have a 13-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old daughter living in our house. We’ll be spending a lot more hours of our day together than we have over the past nine months, so I want to enjoy what they’re enjoying in this season. I also want to seize opportunities to teach them things they need to learn at these ages. I can encourage and appreciate their individuality and try to help them develop the strengths God has given them.
2. Understand that our days will not all unfold exactly as we planned. We all know I’m a planner; I love a schedule! But summer has a way of throwing a wrench in my well-thought-out plans. It might involve bad weather, someone getting sick, or friends canceling a get-together. I’m hoping that I’ll see these disruptions as God’s hand at work and move on to plan B without too many issues!
3. Consciously choose our attitude each day. This especially comes into play when #2 happens! I can be grumpy about having to drive the girls somewhere on days I want to stay home. I can go off like a firecracker when they start arguing. I can wish that we’d made different plans for the summer. Or, I can choose joy and gratitude, and try to pass those feelings on to them.
4. Include what works for our family, not anyone else’s. Maybe friends are doing crafts every day or going to really cool camps or having family campouts out in the backyard. (I’m allergic to tents 😉 Those are all good, fun things, but they may not be what our family enjoys or what fits into our lifestyle. We like backyard badminton and cornhole; homemade ice cream in our simple Cuisinart ice cream maker; a family game night; an after-supper trip to Dairy Queen; or watching reruns of old TV shows. You do what works for your family without comparing it to what others are doing.
5. Know that God has something He wants to teach us each and every day. Whether it’s patience or forgiveness or grace, I want to be more like Him when this summer is over. Sometimes I struggle with being faithful in my Bible study and prayer time when our regular schedule is disrupted. I don’t want that to be the case this summer. In fact, I’m hoping that doing a devotional with our daughters will keep us accountable to each other!
Whenever you begin your summer break, I hope that this season will be a wonderful time for you and your family! Let me know if you have other ideas I should include to help make the most of our summers.