Summer fun a time for making memories
Summer around our homeschool looks a lot like the rest of the year. It just feels hotter. We still maintain something of a schedule that includes academics but we try to add a few activities in that make the summer heat more bearable. Our approach has varied over the years, but basically I believe that busy kids are happy kids.
In our front yard, we have a sour plum tree. It reminds me of my childhood because we had a similar tree in one of the homes we lived in. That tree was right next to our pump house, and I loved to climb it. I'd inch my way out on to the pump house roof at which time I'd remember that I was afraid of heights. That's when the sobbing began. I have no idea how many times I summoned my father to bring a ladder to get me down.
I have, thus far, resisted climbing the sour plum tree that graces my current front yard. I don't get much higher than standing on a chair these days without my head starting to spin.
My recollection of sour plums is that they were pretty awful, but my children are, perhaps, more persistent than most, so they kept trying them over and over until the sun ripened them to a tart sweetness that I find rather appealing now, especially for making plum syrup and plum jelly. The children especially like it when I make fruit syrup because we use that to make our version of homemade soda. Summer sunshine served over ice.
Summer sledding is fun this time of year. The only requirement is a sturdy piece of cardboard and a hill to slide down. A shower afterward is highly recommended.
Another hot weather activity we've added to the kids' routine is barreling. This is not at all akin to barrel racing in which people race horses around a set of barrels. I suspect my children would love that one, too, but we've not yet mastered even the most basic horsemanship, so barrel racing is out.
Barreling is an activity in which my kids fill up several 55-gallon plastic drums with water and then each child who is tall enough climbs into a barrel. There is dunking and giggling, but mostly they stand and talk, soothed by the coolness of the water that is so refreshing after the evening farm chores are completed.
I imagine there is a product liability attorney out there somewhere having palpitations at the thought of summer sledding and barreling. Before long, cardboard boxes and barrels will come with a list of disclaimers and warnings about the perils of using these items for play, and it will all be our fault. Like many things kids do, parental supervision is advised. Kids are kids: They don't always see the dangers. That's why God gives them parents.
Although I have been invited, I haven't managed to hurtle down a hill or climb into a barrel yet. I am afraid I'd get stuck, just like I used to get stuck up that old sour plum tree of my youth. I am content to watch from my chair in the shade as I try to fill my memories with the sound of children's laughter on a summer's eve.
Rose Godfrey is a speech pathologist and homeschooling mom in Meridian. Her homeschool blog can be found on the Appeal-Democrat website at appealdemocrat.com.