How to Rethink Summer Break And Have No Regrets In The Fall

For many of us homeschool mamas, we are wrapping up the school year! If you’re like me, summer holds so many promises.  Promises of rest, no grading or lesson plans for three whole months, swim dates, park outings, and reading a book in the hammock. 

Summer… moments of peace with nothing to do… Or is it? 

That’s how it FEELS like it should be, but in all honesty, it just doesn’t look that good in real life. Lack of routine and extra free time can create bored kids. Bored kids create fights, bickering, and picking at each other. Bored kids create more messes and eat more snacks. It just doesn’t sound like the summer I was picturing. Sigh. 

In the past, I’ve stood at the edge of summer with great and high expectations: the list I was going to accomplish, the cleaning I was going to get done, the preparation for next school year, the special days we were going to have. . . All to get to the end of summer and realize I spent it playing catch up and cleaning up messes three steps behind my kids. I got to the end of summer tired rather than rested and ready to get back to school with a routine. A whole summer wasted. 

I began to realize I needed to rethink summer “break”!

Why Rethink Summer Break?

It might seem like a break: our school load is lighter, our school books are gathering dust… but the hearts and souls of our children are still in front of us. And sorry to say, there is someone that wants to ruin the hearts of our kids this summer. 

Satan.

Satan wants to ruin our relationships with our kids this summer!  He wants us to spend the summer worrying how we are going to make it through the next school year. He wants us to spend our summer settling fights. He wants to question why we have surrounded ourselves with all these complaining kids. He wants us to feel discouraged and weary as we flop into bed each night. Satan wants each little spare moment that a school break affords spent in some distraction. 

Summer is not a time to sit back and let satan use our spare time as his playground. There is no time to let our guard down against the devil. Sister, we must NOT let this summer be a waste! 

How To Rethink Summer Break.

But how? How do we get the rest and rejuvenation we need this summer and still not let the grumps, complaining, or fighting take over? How do we make it through without letting satan distract us?

Let’s rethink this a bit!  No matter where you are in the stage of your summer, STOP! Take a minute to ask yourself, what are my goals? What is the biggest thing I want to accomplish this summer? 

The last few summers I have been choosing just TWO goals, two things I want to accomplish during the summer. Just being able to “let the rest of the list go” and giving myself permission to focus on two things has changed our summers in a wild way! 

First, I pick out one heart issue. What do I mean by a heart issue? It’s something that I feel like we all (kids and I both) need to work on. Last year was sibling love (cough, cough… getting along), and though we could use it again this summer, I picked obedience. I grabbed Kim Sorgius’ “Because I Said So” Bible study for us to work through. Besides that, I am also changing the way I measure a day; I’ve accomplished something great if all I’ve done is followed through with getting them to listen to me. 

While during the school year, there are many other things pressing, and many times I might not stop and notice if they are obeying… summer is different. There is a pace slow enough that there is a cushion for me to wait for them to obey. When I’m not so pressed, I have time to follow through. 

So that’s goal one!

{Do you have a heart issue you and your kids need to address during the slower pace of summer? Just pick one to concentrate on!}

The second thing I do is pick out one new habit to learn. . . Making a habit during the summer when we have time to really learn a new routine makes the school year so much more smooth. Some new habit examples: 

  • Some years it’s simply stepping up the chore level. The girl who did the bathroom last year – learns a new area, something a tad bit harder. The girls on sweeping duty – might still sweep but also learn to add in dusting. 
  • Some years it is simply adding a completely additional job into the day. One summer we learned the habit of dishwasher jobs. Another summer was to establish a Saturday cleaning routine. Still yet, another summer was adding after-supper jobs for everyone. 

This summer we need to up our laundry game, and we are making a new habit of picking up our “zone” each afternoon. 

Using this time with a little less on our plate, we get into a good routine and form good habits. These habits will help us when the rubber meets the road during the school year. And we can just do them without thinking.

That’s goal two!

 {Do you have anything you’ve been wishing was a habit for your family? Use this summer to get it established!}

Two goals. One heart issue and one new habit we need to establish.  That’s it.  Somehow just making these two things our first focus every day has redeemed our summer. 

I’d love to know, how are you rethinking your summer “break”? Send me a note about what your goals are for this summer, so Leslie and I can cheer you on! Also, be sure to download the goal setting brainstorming sheets we’ve prepared for you. Maybe these will help you and your children better think through how to RETHINK this summer together!

Trudie is married to her high school sweet heart. She is a mama to four girls whom she homeschools. Her introverted self enjoys time alone at coffee shops. Trudie writes and podcasts at LearningLittleLessons.com.  
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