what mom learned this summer

When you’ve been at this home educating lifestyle long enough, you start to realize that too much downtime during summer fuels boredom and slothfulness, not relaxation and leisure. So the tendency to school all year, to be in a perpetual state of studies, seems to make a lot of sense.

Fifteen minutes of math each day, continuing to journal and do chores, and setting aside quiet time to read, and definitely limiting screen time fuels creativity. When there is a wee bit of work to do, the leisure seems more happily received. Perhaps the schedule is loosened significantly, but still has its presence.

Perhaps one of the greatest disadvantages to never letting loose from the schedule though, is not learning to be free with my time, for myself. There are things that I want to do. There are things that I want to pursue. There are things that would make me certain of my identity as more than a mom-at-home(schooling). What are they? How would I know if I never set aside the time?

Slowly, gradually, finally, I found myself setting aside significant chunks of time for just that, pursuing the projects that I wanted. Not because they might fuel an interest in one of my children. Not because I thought it might aid in their education. Not because it might nurture one of them, but rather, so that it might nurture me.

Like setting aside time each day to read. Not homeschooling stuff, not inspirational stuff, not the newspaper or magazines I feel obliged to read, just a good-old-fashioned fictional narrative that takes me away to another place, somewhere presently inaccessible for my physical body.

Like doing the things I think will never happen until the kids are out of the house, like painting the fence in quiet, or planning the front garden bed, or redecorating the upper floor of our home.

Like wandering the aisles of the bookstore, just for the sheer enjoyment of placing my fingers on hundreds of books, flipping open their book jackets and discovering their hidden expressions in font or whitespace.

These are the things that re-create a sense of individuality, a sense of quiet and organization, for me. If I were in a perpetual state of all-year schooling, I wouldn’t have enough mental wandering to let myself pursue things outside my present-day sphere. A little re-creating fuels a whole lot of work. In the seventh day, God rested. In the seventh month, mom rested.