My children have a full week of school under their belts already, and summer proper is over, despite the calendar. As I look back over the summer, there are several things that we really liked, and they worked, and we’d totally do them again.
I shared our chore charts earlier in the summer. They worked extremely well for us, unlike some of my chore list ideas. The children are now working from updated lists for school mornings.
Cleaning less – and more
Here is our philosophy of cleaning in the summer: As Little As Possible. So every year, about the time the kids go back to school, my whole house needs a good shake and a bath. Then I regret our habits because my work force just left, and it’s all on me.
This year, we limped by with as little weekly cleaning as we could – just enough to keep the bathrooms and floors decent, and pass as respectable hosts – and then, right before school started, we spent a few days cleaning the whole house thoroughly. We scrubbed dusty places and took stuff apart and moved furniture as needed and wiped windows and mopped floors. It felt so good. And when they went back to school, the house was restful and neat. I LOVED THIS.
Mostly for something to entertain my thirteen-turned-fourteen-year-old, who was not quite ready for a summer job but needed lots to do, I suggested a weekly family newspaper. He took it from there. He got his siblings involved – Kelly usually did a word cloud or web about the week, and Regan got a copy in the mail. We liked it as documentation of summer highlights, and as writing exercise.
We went to the library frequently – every two weeks or so. I also suggested books off our own bookshelves for our children. Many pages were whizzed through.
We tried for once a week, and though we didn’t quite make it, we did go often. There’s a nice little lakefront about ten minutes from our house, and it was usually quiet and sunny. The big kids got better at strokes, and the little ones learned to be comfy and safe in their floaties.
Despite less cleaning, I try to have the kids do a lot of work. (There’s plenty to go round.) There’s always some cleaning. They cook sometimes. Aarick learned to bake killer loaves of wheat bread; Kelly learned to make lovely little breakfasts, for herself and maybe a sibling. We do mountain ranges worth of laundry, by systems. The boys get paid by the hour to mow and weed-eat our lawn. They entertain each other, put away many scattered items, weed flowerbeds, sometimes volunteer to help others.
Every summer, we do some of the same things. We always spend a weekend at a cabin with my extended family, and another camping with my husband’s extended family in someone’s backyard. We camp another few weekends, just us. We host people for campfires. We go on lots of walks. We take a daytrip to visit my grandma in Ohio. We attend certain community events – the county fair, the hot air balloon festival (we missed that one this year as it was rescheduled for foul weather – boohoo), the Memorial Day parade, men and boys’ camping with church friends, water battles with the fireman, and the ice cream social in August. We celebrate birthdays. We have picnics with precious people we rarely see, and we pack a lunch and hike the cemetery ravine.
These events are highlights for us: bookends around which we plan our weeks.
And then we try to throw in lots of things we never did before. This year, that included camping with local friends for a weekend, vacationing briefly in Michigan, trying out some new recipes and new trails around town, cooking our dinner in a Dutch oven, and making new friends.
I love fall rhythms, and I’m not sorry to have them resume. But we had a great summer. How was yours?