The first official day of our Longest Summer Ever fell on the longest day of the year.
I mentioned in my last post about how we would not be returning to school in the fall and we’re spending the next 6 months or so exploring our interests and getting out to see some cool stuff.
Without the anchor of the school day, things turn into a free-for-all pretty quickly. And while I normally don’t mind what I call “summer chaos”, I’m very aware that I won’t be packing up that chaos and shipping it off to school in September.
For one thing, electronics are a real problem in our house. For everyone, not just for the kids. I originally didn’t want to set any strict limits on “screen time”; I don’t really mind the kids being on the computer so long as there’s a bit of balance.
After thinking about how to deal with our electronics issue, I decided that we’d build a loose schedule to follow on the weekdays (and a separate one for weekends). Having internet “black out” times works better for us than earning time on the computer or even having a set amount of time they’re allowed on the computer. In the past, those structures caused the kids to be preoccupied with whether or not they’d get to be on the computer and for how long. This way, they know they’ll get their time and have multiple opportunities to play video games so there’s no need to bargain/discuss/think about it/talk about it. It’s not about punishment or reward; it’s just a thing we do sometimes and not others.
The focus is on creating a few new habits to last us into the fall when Jeff goes back to school but the kids do not.
Since the kids wake up at various times, we decided we’d start our day at 9am. Before that, if the kids would like to be on electronics or play outside in their pjs or lay around in bed a little, that’s fine.
So our “structure” looks a little bit like this:
9:00 begins our unplugged time with breakfast/getting dressed/chores
10-4 is unplugged free time. This is when we’re likely to take a trip out anyway.
4-6 is computer/tv time
6:00 is dinner
Followed by 1 hour of reading for the entire family
A little more free time if we have time for it and the bedtime routine begins at 8:30.
9:30 lights out.
How’d we do on day 1?
Well, the unplugged time went better than I expected. Usually, once the electronics are ripped from their white-knuckled-grip the kids do pretty well. The house is exponentially louder… and messier, but the kids do pretty well.
Today we took Marlowe out to see Finding Dory for his first ever movie experience and despite spilling his popcorn and getting folded up in the seat a few times, it was a success.
We did ditch the hour of free time (and our bedtimes) to head out with a telescope to a nearby field to see the strawberry moon.
We didn’t get a chance to see the moon until the ride home because the trees were too high, but it didn’t really matter. We saw Mars and Jupiter, watched bats feast above our heads, chased some fireflies and lay around in the grass looking up at the stars.
Sometimes, you gotta bend the schedule even on day one.
I’m trying to keep my expectations in check, but it was a nice start to our Longest Summer Ever.