Friday, June 8, 2018

Summertime :: Living and Learning

Summer break here is filled with the gift of TIME. Time for new habits, quiet routines, and delightful occupations. Time to be together and to be alone, to engage the new and revisit the old, to wander and to stay home. I am always thankful when summer break rolls around!

We always do a chore switch in the summer, taking a few weeks to reconsider and rotate jobs, replenish supplies, train in new skills, and get used to the flow of a new choretime routine. This rotation involves daily chores and weekly chores. I am hoping to do a series on Chore Training this fall, but I will just share here a few snaps of the schedules in flux.

daily chores draft

weekly chores draft -- in progress

I posted these on the fridge over the weekend, and so far this week has run so smoothly that I will be able to print more permanent versions this afternoon! This trial run has allowed me to see what I have accidentally left off the list, who needs extra help or oversight, and whether the load is evenly distributed. Depending on how the next month goes, I may print one more tweak before the new school year begins. After that, I usually try to revisit only at the end of the term if needed. (I will share my permanent versions on the blog soon if you are looking for ideas!)

Time Outdoors
As usual, we have added a weekly beach trip to our weekly nature outing now that the weather is predictably nice. It is wonderful to have that full morning outdoors in a special place together -- especially because my husband comes along and enjoys the time with us.

The rest of the week's mornings find my kids in the backyard for a few hours. They have been busy with their "herb garden" and their snailery. (Most low maintenance "pets" ever!)

there are three snails in this kritter keeper: cilantro, basil, and sage (notice a connection? they were inspired)

Lots of games of tag and mud kitchen play. My son is planning to harvest the plums soon, and there have been many new entries in the Calendar of Firsts as we watch for changes daily.

This week: the agapanthus buds are finally up (they are a few weeks late this year according to my records!), the hibiscus tree has its buds but no flowers just yet, and the african irises are at their peak. We listen to the Northern Mockingbird sing his heart out every morning and watch the towhees dart in and out of the shrubs. We have a tiny backyard but there is still so much to see. :)

Summer is a great time to introduce a new craft, helping to smooth our Term 1. The lazy afternoons also allow the kids lots and lots of free time to fill with crafting projects. So far this summer, I have introduced knitting, which has been a big hit from my 12yo down to my 5yo.

Gianna showed Clara how to use the fork/lucet and she took off on her own with no trouble at all!

They have also been doing lots of lettering, sewing, paper crafting, and penpal writing. Every day at naptime, I play an audiobook and we all sit at the table together working on something while Damien has his lunch next to us. I have also had the Big Girls in the kitchen with me, building sous chef skills and taking over some more recipes on their own. This morning, Gianna made us granola, and this weekend, we'll be doing a big batch of banana breads.

making six meatloaves in about 30 minutes -- easy bulk cooking!

Schoolish Bits
We're doing a little formal learning here and there.

:: Our Morning Basket for summer just holds Bible and poetry this year -- with a fussy baby, that's all I can manage! We have been spending our early mornings instead on a quick walk around the block each morning since baby likes the stroller. It's a good compromise. :)

:: I'm aiming to hit math with my middles a couple times a week through the rest of June and July since we only do math four times a week during the school year. My Big Kids will be working on the rest of RightStart Level G (which is almost entirely independent).

:: We're doing Latin and Italian a couple times a week as circumstance allows. Nothing new, just games and songs and such. They also still have their weekly Italian lesson on Skype through Miss Alessandra that I may bump to twice weekly through July. (We are still loving italki for this part of our foreign language program! It has been such a blessing.)

skype italian

Free Time
Free time is the rule of summer here -- I am trying not to schedule any more of their time than I have to. That has meant playing with the dollhouse for whole afternoons, lots of board games (current favorites are Bold, Spot It, and Qwixx), building with magnet blocks, writing stories, typing lessons for my 9yo, drawing and painting, and many hours of imaginary games.  We are still listening our way through the Swallows and Amazons series on audio, which is just such a delight. Xavier is writing a fan fiction piece called "Camping is Fun." :)

calico critters -- so sweet!

you can see their books coming to life in their art (angus and brambly bedge)

And for me, that has meant time to work on writing projects, a bunch of little decluttering tasks (with the help of my Big Girls), reading, and keeping. I have made several entries in my commonplace book, some daily bits in my nature journal. So far, I have finished Gilead (a reread) and am working on Little Men (also a reread), The Lifegiving Home, finishing the Brothers Karamazov (which I was reading LAST summer but never finished) up are Far From the Madding Crowd, Lila, and Deep Work. I also have a simple Mother's Morning Basket going that provides a soul-filling start to my days.

my daily dose of cloud of witness!

writing conference talks -- I have everything in one place!


Speaking of summertime, I'm going to share another post next week about how we handle the beach with littles -- I get a lot of questions about that! I might not be the best person to ask because I literally pulled a dried piece of seaweed out of my 11 month old's throat the last time we were there, effectively saving his life...but I promise that is the very first time that has happened and generally we have a fun-filled, safe, and smooth time on our weekly outings! ;)

What does your summer hold?


  1. Can you tell me what kind of yarn/material you are using to knit with your lucet? It seems to produce a nice big bulky string that will grow quickly. I'm looking to introduce some lucets around here soon. Thanks!

    1. Yes, this was a bulky wool yarn. It was from a handicrafts shop, but you can find similar yarn options on Amazon: Hope that helps! Have fun! :)

  2. Hi Celeste! Will you be sharing your third term exams? I always look forward to seeing your exam questions you use for your older two!

    1. I am hoping to get this year's exams up next month. But I can't make any promises! :)

  3. The drawings on the fridge. Amazing. Did they just study the pictures in the book? Do you have any other tips for how other children might draw like that as well? Thank you. :)

    1. Those particular ones were done using grid drawing. It is a method they have been practicing with for a while now and it's a fun way to do "drawing copywork," looking at a scene square by square. It makes a more complicated scene seem less overwhelming! :)