I'm not normally one to make lists. I either forget where I put the list, much less what was on it, or I get so frustrated that I'm not accomplishing anything on the list that I just throw it away. But the other day, I read a Facebook article from a teacher about her suggestions for parents when they make their summer bucket lists, and it really got me thinking about the things I want to do with my kids this summer.
You see, her suggestions were things like “Make sure your child has good table manners, because so many of my students don’t,” and “Make sure your kids can tie their own shoes so others don’t have to help them,” and “Put your kids to bed at a normal time, so it’s easier for them when they start school again in the fall.” While these are valuable ideas and skills that all children need, they all sound like horrible summer ideas to me! Maybe it’s because we homeschool and our school year consists of studies and lessons and schedules, all that I’m responsible for, but I like our summer to be more relaxed, more free, and more fun. So, here’s my summer bucket list:
-Play with my kids. While normal barn and house chores must be done in the summer as well as extra summertime activities like gardening and canning, not having to get school work done allows us some extra free time. This summer, I hope to spend some of those extra hours playing some games with my children that we often don’t have time for during the school year. Whether it’s sitting down to build Legos, playing a board game, or getting out the deck of Uno cards, I want to spend some time doing something that they want to do, instead of something we have to do.
-Go outdoors. Behind our house we have a little woods and a creek the kids love to play in. I want to take the kids back there several times this summer to play in the water, to explore, to catch frogs and bugs and find shells and crawdads. I want them to get dirty and discover things for themselves and enjoy being outside while it’s warm and sunny. It’s also something the boys absolutely love to do, so it won’t be hard to get them out the door for this activity.
-Maintain a sense of normalcy. It’s easy for me to let schedules and chore lists slip in the summer, mostly because I hate schedules and lists. I have to constantly struggle against my nature during the school year to stay on a (very loose) schedule, so summer days usually devolve into messy, tv-watching, running around, accomplishing-nothing days. I’ve let the kids take about a 2-week break from their normal routine, so it’s time to bring some of it back. We’ll be trying to keep our chore, night-time reading, Bible memory work, and Bible reading times throughout the summer, even though everything in me wants to totally give in and give it up for the next two months.
-Enjoy them. I want to look them in the eyes, snuggle them, laugh at their terrible knock-knock jokes, watch them play, and just enjoy being with them. It seems they grow older every second, and I want to savor it all while they’re still little and still here. It’s easy to get frustrated and just zone in on their messes, fights, and faults. But, when I really observe them closely, I’m reminded that they are really good kids! That they are pretty fun to have around! That I really do like them! I want to take the summer months to reconnect with each of them.
Our list may not involve anything terribly exciting, like trips to the zoo or ice cream every Friday, nor is it filled with extra homework or practicing important life skills so we can catch up before the next school year, but I hope that this summer we can make new memories, enjoy some down time, and relax from the school year grind. And I hope you get to cross off many things from your summer bucket list too, whether they are exciting or not.