Summertime means one who wants to make laundry detergent and granola in between puzzle working, one who wants to be read to without reading herself, and one who wants to please, please do all of her Kindergarten work before fall starts.

So this year was an adventure. I thought I would be ready to say that I have a year of homeschooling my children wrapped up by now, but really, I feel like we haven’t wrapped anything up, and I am wondering if this is normal. (Not that “normal” has ever really been something I care to strive for, but ya know…) So if any of you readers out there are from a homeschooling family, then please let me know your experience of thoughts on what I have to say here. While normal isn’t my main concern, it’s always helpful to hear about others’ experiences with a similar lifestyle. I don’t really feel like there is a clear division between the school year and summer break. Of course we aren’t waking up these days and doing a set amount of school time or following a lesson plan, BUT I do feel a bit like an old dog who can’t be taught to transform our routine totally into the new trick of a summer break. It just seems like so much wasted school time to me! My poor kids….

But it is funny to me to watch how each of them are reacting to our relaxed and flexible summertime routine. Those who know me won’t be surprised to read this. I tend to get pretty excited about the varying interests and personalities of my kiddos.

So far, my graduated from Kindergarten gal has proclaimed that summer break means she doesn’t have to do school work, but being the book lover she is, she refuses to put away her paperback friends, but instead wants to be read TO everyday, rather than reading herself. Hmmm…. How do I say no to a six year old who wants to cuddle up next to me and listen to me read about Laura Ingalls. Seriously? But the kid needs to keep reading on her own too, lest she forgets what she knows. Sigh.

And then there’s the soon-to-be Kindergarten girl, who refuses to acknowledge summer break and asks me if she can please, please, pretty please do a worksheet or a project, please please please, and she’ll promise to clean up her room if I’ll let her do some school work and get into some Kindergarten….please. Ummm, okay?

And now let’s move on down the line to Little Bit, the soon-to-be preschooler. All this kid wants to do over summer break is exactly the same as all she wants to do during the school year: this little girl wants to bake and make in the kitchen and also work puzzles. The difference between the school year and summertime for her: there’s much more time in the day for puzzles and baking. She especially loves to help Mama make laundry detergent. All the kids really love this activity, of course none as much as Little Bit, but it is lots of fun all around and worth taking a moment to share.

We buy the soap pre-grated and the ingredients pre-measured from a farmer’ market, so this is easier than it sounds.

I have to say that this is probably my very favorite activity to do with the kiddos. There’s measuring and learning to follow directions, very little kitchen mess, the house is left smelling fresh afterwards, and we end up with a bunch of inexpensive laundry detergent free of harsh chemicals and dyes. And the detergent looks a lot like lemonade and brightens up our laundry room shelf. Lots of wins here.

And an activity with multiple wins is not something to take lightly around here where the kids get smarter, and louder, and more expressive by the day, especially in the summertime.

So, what about your summers? Seriously, I am looking for some support, guidance, ideas, or thoughts. Should I be looking for less of a gray area here…? Should our summers be more summer break-like? And if you think so, then why? I gotta say, I see great arguments for our schoolish version of summer and also great arguments for a summer with less pencils.

Thanks for reading.