As of today, our kids are officially on summer break (even though it doesn’t look like it outside). Because we both work from home, summer vacation from school means some significant shifts in our schedule in order to accomplish a day’s work.
Sure, there are some challenges to this situation; but we prefer not to see it that way, and instead to look for ways to take advantage of this flexibility. For example, we’ve designated Fridays as summer’s Official Pool Day (if the pools ever open!), and we’ve promised to clear some space each Friday to end early and turn our attention to getting outside with our kids. It’s healthy for everyone!
This year, for our day-to-day routine, we’re taking a page from our traveling playbook, when, not only were we both working from the road, but also homeschooling the kids. It’s a system that allowed for everyone’s best days, and we saw great benefit in dividing up our days into morning, afternoon, and evening schedules.
Morning: We like to keep the mornings quiet and calm. We all have coffee and breakfast outside in the early sunshine, if we can, and we listen to the birds. When the meal is done, it’s time for simple, administrative tasks, that can become stressors if they linger too long. While we answer emails, schedule social media, and review invoicing, our daughters put their hands to focused, creative tasks. Each summer, they keep a “sketchbook” of drawings and journal entries about their activities and travels. They work through these with writing prompts drawn from a jar; play a card game together; or read a book.
Afternoon: When we reach a good stopping point, we adventure out together. We’ll pack a picnic, slather up in sunscreen, and hit the road, often without a destination. We look for playgrounds, picnic spots, and places to skip rocks. Sometimes it’s a bigger outing, like to a museum or the zoo.
Evening: After we return home, we get a lot done while the girls rest or watch a movie. It’s the time for phone calls and the meat of our project work. Depending on what deadlines are looming, we divide dinner and bedtime prep.
A lot of days won’t work like this. There are meetings and camps and classes and appointments to take into consideration. Sometimes we might have to work into an evening. But flexibility is a two-way street. If we’re willing to adjust and make space for a late night of work, we know there is time to engage our kids in the fun of summer in the afternoon. It’s not a practice we’ve perfected, but we’re definitely grateful we get to do it like this.