Are you educating your children at home? Summer is a great time to reflect on the school year. It can be a wonderful time to get organized, cull the house of unneeded curriculum and to simplify your schedule.

For many years we homeschooled year around, taking two to three week breaks throughout the year when we needed to regroup, reorganize and rest. This year ’round schedule worked especially well when we lived in the Southeast and summer was too hot to go outside anyway.

Now that we are only a few miles from the Canadian border and surrounded by beautiful lakes and hiking trails every drop of summer sunshine is a precious commodity.

This June (on the days when the weather was still cool and Spring-like) we took three weeks to deep clean and organize and now we are just doing an hour of organized learning each morning until Fall.

The children have a listening schedule for several good audio books (I will write more about the importance of auditory stimulation for the brain later) and they copy verses of the Bible into a notebook. Some of the children are brushing up on math facts or other drill-type work but that’s about it. The rest of the day we try to enjoy, observe and learn from God’s beautiful creation as much as possible.

I recently bought and downloaded a Household/Homeschooling Planner from Large Family Mothering. The price is low (7.50), the graphics are appealing and refreshing to the eye and I figured I could use a little inspiration.

While the children are enjoying the feel of water and sun on their skin, I will be flipping through my planner as I set goals, plan menus and take inventory of our huge stash of books and resources.

I like the feeling of being “in control” for a short part of the year and a planner reinforces that feeling. Usually Fall arrives with several unexpected events and I have to set aside much of what I thought my life was going to look like. But now, with the sun shining, I feel optimistic and happy. I love listening to the joyful voices of my children nearby as I think and write and plan. It is the ultimate lazy summer pleasure for a person who wants to feel like she is doing something while she sits in a lawn chair.

Then followed that beautiful season… Summer….
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow