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Minimalist at Home - A Simple Approach to Living with Less
A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Are Your Summers Lazy or Crazy?

As my kids have gotten older, their summers have gotten busier and busier. I can’t decide if I’m really happy about that. Ok, actually I’m not happy with it at all. However, I’m trying to weigh the busyness against the fact they are having fun and having experiences they don’t have throughout the year.

As a homeschooling family, I purposefully keep the school year activities to a minimum. In fact, this past school year we did nothing for extra-curricular activities. Secretly, it drives me crazy when families (even homeschool families) have their kids in so many activities that they never seem to be home at all. What’s the point of having kids if you never spend any time with them?

Crazy Days of Summer

As we were putting our plans on our calendar, it hit me how much busier this summer is going to be. So far here’s what we have on tap for this summer:

  • Family trip to the beach.
  • Two weeks of camp for my oldest son. (This is the first year he’s been to any camp he spent the night away from us so this will be a big change for us all)
  • One week of middle school church camp. (I need a moment of silence while I silently freak out that I have an upcoming MIDDLE SCHOOLER! Wow, where did the time go?)
  • My youngest son will spend several days sleeping over with his cousin and then we’ll swap and bring the slumber party fun here.
  • One week of day camp for both my boys that starts at the crack of dawn every day. (Yikes! Who picks these start times?!)
  • There may also be a week of Vacation Bible School at church but I think it conflicts with our family beach trip.

What Makes a Summer Too Busy?

So, that’s the list. It feels like A LOT to me. I really prefer lazy days of summer. It’s a big change this year. When I look at it all from my minimalist mindset, initially it just feels like too much time and too many activities to juggle. But if I define minimalism as “sticking to what’s important and letting go of the rest” then I have to admit that giving my children fun and memorable summer experiences still falls within the important category.

If I had signed my kids up for countless activities that they didn’t enjoy or things just to keep them busy and out of my hair, then I think the situation would feel completely different. I have to face the facts that they are growing up and have their own preferences of how they want to spend their time. My youngest son is nine and he prefers to stay closer to home this year and that’s fine with us. My daughter and I will swim and play outside and have leisurely tea parties. Many days she will be the only child in the house. It’ll be strange for me but I’m hoping it will be a positive experience for everyone. Only time will tell I suppose.

How does summer look at your house? Do you tend to stay busy or keep things calm and laid back? How do you find the right balance?

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Article originally published on 05/03/2011

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