The summer holidays have arrived here in the UK, although we “broke up” from our homeschool about three weeks ago as we were on our knees and the boys had finished exams and college. I love the beginning of any holiday, and this one in particular because it marks the end of our academic year and more than any other offers the opportunity of time to reflect, read, pray, be restored and re-envisioned.
I generally find that at the beginning of each holiday we all need time to unwind and slow down. This may seem unproductive, but I’ve come to realise it’s actually an investment for the following weeks. So, we try to have some slow, lazy days and not feel guilty!
Once I’ve been revived a bit, I have fresh energy to make best use of the time these weeks offer. We all too often can fill our days with activities; all good and fun, but I also intentionally plan some quiet, home days too.
This summer we’ve already been on two camping trips;
a week end with our wonderful home ed group
and a great family holiday in beautiful Guernsey.
Both were soul restoring in their own ways. I always feel encouraged after spending time with our home ed friends, and family holidays are good times to re-group, go at a slower pace, talk, explore, be inspired by new places and spend time quietly with my Bible and journal, trying to hear God’s whisperings into my heart. We’ve found that our adopted children often struggle with the change of environment and lack of routine, so behaviour can be more challenging than usual. I’ve written about this in a previous post Holidays July 2018but it’s a learning process and would love to hear others’ wisdom/experiences.
I enjoy the change of rhythm this season offers. While it can be busy, it’s a different type of busy. I love having visitors and it is a treat to catch up with friends we don’t often see.
I have the opportunity to spend time focusing on activities or crafts which I never get round to doing during term time. In addition, I always find that the children do indeed create, learn and explore by themselves; a nod to John Holt’s “unschooling” philosophy. So, our homeschooling lifestyle continues, but in a less structured way.
For our time at home, I have several “goals”.
– To make time to pray, read my Bible and try to hear God’s direction for the coming year. Also it’s an opportunity to pray more directly into issues in our family, and to battle in prayer when necessary.
– To ensure we have enough lazy days at home, to chill, to read, to walk, to drink milkshakes and share yummy food together.
-To ring fence time to read, especially around home ed ideas and philosophies to inspire and direct me for the coming year. My most favourite place to do this is under a gazebo in our garden, with a cup of tea and some chocolate. This is true luxury for me!
-It’s a busy time in the garden, and one of my soul restoring activities is to listen to a podcast while I pull up weeds, fight brambles or harvest fruit and veg.
– It’s also the time for my annual Sort Out. I choose cupboards, shelves or whole rooms which have gradually descended into chaos and try to bring back some semblance of order. This gives me a sense of achievement and so is also a soul restoring activity!
All this sounds most organised, and our days often feel far from this! However, when time is something I’m usually so short on, the gift of it over the summer is precious. I have a little more flexibility on how I use it, and hope and pray I can do so wisely, to be ready to start up again in September.