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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Comments

  1. It’s hard to hit a balance between relaxing and having fun new experiences over the summer. My oldest son will attend a day camp a few days each week most weeks over the summer. He’ll go on field trips to fun places with some of his good friends, so they’ll have a great time. On the days he’s not at day camp, he’ll be lounging around, relaxing, riding his bike, swimming and mostly just doing whatever he’s in the mood for!

  2. I like lazy summers, but this one is shaping up to be crazy, with lots of travel and guests at our home. It will be fun, though!

  3. We had our share of both as the kids were growing up! It is true, as they get older, you will have periods of time when the older ones will not be at home and you can spend more relaxed time with the kids at home. Like you said, knowing what your intent is for your children will help you make those decisions. Being specific about activities rather than signing up just because you can will help.
    I don’t have any little kids any more. I have to go borrow someone’s kids so I can go to the pool!
    Bernice
    3 gifts to give yourself this Mothers Day

  4. I think my summers and winter’s blend together and it’s all a bunch of craziness. When I hear kids getting out for summer break I am so jealous. I remember the days of going to the beach or the pool everyday and that was your life. Rough. 🙂

    Maybe my ode to this summer will be to relax and be lazy! I will have to make some stops to the beach but maybe instead of surfing, running, throwing the football I will just lay back and read a nice book and enjoy the sounds of the waves. Whoof. This is a challenge.

  5. My kids are still young enough that I have complete control of their schedules. They don’t know that summer camps and other activities even exist. I think I’m going to try to keep it this way for as long as possible!

  6. I try to keep it simple in the summer, but it usually doesn’t end up that way! My big girl will be taking tennis, ballet camp, 4-H, and swimming. We also have a trip to the beach planned, and farm camp (my parents take all the (potty trained) grandkids for a week, and teach them about life on the farm). We can walk or bike to most of our activities, so even though we may seem busy, I don’t feel like I’m living in my car.

  7. I really needed to hear this. Things are adding up on my calendar and I just don’t work well that way. I love the idea of really looking closely at each activity and making sure it is important. This will be our first summer with camps, but I felt it was important to make sure the kids (ages 7 and 10) could do well in groups without me. We homeschool and I just wanted an idea of how they can handle themselves without my hovering nearby. So far, most of our plans meet the criteria of a “need” but I tend to over schedule and rationalize my choices. Truly enjoyed your blog!

  8. We haven’t gotten into the summer camps yet…but with 4 kids..everything always seems busy to me. We have the oldest 2 in baseball, but I haven’t signed our youngest son up yet-even though he is old enough. Both boys play on the same night, which just makes for a clear “rest of the week”….even this seems like a lot with a toddler in tow! 🙂

    Thanks Faith~
    (formerly MostlySunny)

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