Today my son wrapped up his school year with a wave to his teacher as we signed off of Google Meet. No hug. No end of the year picnic. Nothing.
This school year has been one of those “never have I ever” experiences. Never have I ever imagined that school would be transitioned to distance learning for almost four months. Never have I ever thought we’d go from months at home during the school year to … well, months at home for summer vacation. Basically, there has never been a more awkward transition from school year to summer break.
But here we are. School’s out for the summer and it’s time for a new plan, a summer rhythm that will hopefully lead us into a somewhat normal school year in the fall.
During a regular summer I’m home with my kids, but our days are anything but homebound. We’re at the zoo, visiting friends, traveling to see grandparents, attending camps, browsing the market, enjoying a vacation or a few long weekends away, and seeing movies in the park. But, we live in the Pacific Northwest, specifically a county still in phase one, so at the moment visiting a restaurant in celebration of the end of the school year isn’t even an option. So, I’m focusing on finding a summer rhythm; a calm but productive routine that will hopefully make our days at home a mix of relaxing and memorable.
It might not be the ideal summer, but it can still be a good one. Here is what’s next for us:
It has been a long haul already and honestly, I’m so proud of my kids. They have really been troopers! But, once again, we’re moving into unchartered territory… a summer like they’ve never had before. So, we’ll be setting some expectations. With screens. With chores. With attitudes. Family meeting time!
Rally the Team
Through all of this I’ve reiterated over and over that we are in this together. We’re a team! We survived crisis-schooling and now we’re going to embrace summer. It’s going to be different, but we can play that game. Slower paced, more time together, focusing on the blessings. Who knows, maybe we’ll even write our own family/team chant or cheer.
Camp … at Home
I may not be supermom, but I do have the collaborative resources of Pinterest and Amazon. With that pair I can definitely host a camp of sorts at home for my kids. A fun, themed week that will hopefully go down in family history as one of our best memories. Right now, I’m leaning towards a Disney week full of park-inspired food, movies, and crafts and a fair week to honor the time we usually spend experiencing our county and state fair. What kind of at-home camp theme would your kids love?
Start a Business
A summer free of “to dos” is the perfect opportunity for older kids to exercise their entrepreneurial skills. Guide your kids through the steps of launching a business, creating a product, managing money, and finding an outlet to sell their wares or service.
Dive Deep into a New Culture
Choose a continent or a country to explore as a family. You might not be able to visit in person, but the options to virtually explore are near endless! Utilize the app Duolingo to practice the language, purchase a cookbook to try some new recipes, and read about the history and people. And who knows? Maybe your research will plant a seed for a future adventure!
Plan an Outdoor Bucket List
Nature will be our savior this summer. Our one opportunity to get out and about. During our summer kickoff family meeting we’ll be brainstorming old favorites as well as some new outdoor adventures. Bring on the hikes, beaches, and camping, even if it’s in the backyard.
Explore Book to Screen Adaptations
In college I took a class about film analysis; many of the movies we discussed were book to screen adaptations and they made for some of the most interesting discussions! Encourage reading with young and old kids alike with the incentive to watch the book’s film together when they’re done. If you want to take it a step further, search online for book club discussion questions to prompt conversation throughout your reading and watching.