Keeping up a home in the summer is a drag. A real drag, man. The kids and I would much rather be outside. I’d much rather be barefoot in the garden. Or the barn. But not barefoot in the barn. I want to be anywhere there is sun. And humidity. I like the humidity. It feels like a cozy blanket.
So how does the house get messy if we’re outside so much? Well, we do go in and out for drinks and necessities. And if there’s something in a hand, it is dropped. No matter where that is. Wet feet and dirt mix on the hardwoods, making the floors look messy. Quicker dinners make for quick and eager-to-be-finished clean-up. Laundry starts to form into mountains as it is flipped but not folded and processed. And well, things just begin to look disheveled when they’re stopped at the midpoint.
The “good” homemaker in me wants to call a halt to the enjoyment of these warm days and bring everything back into order and institute rules of action. But why? The rhythms (aka rules) already exist. The “good” homemaker wants me to stop all things until we have the place spit-shined and back in Christmas Party order. But why? It isn’t embarrassing. And there’s so much fun to be had. OUTSIDE. We want to be outside. So why wouldn’t we be outside?
And so, somewhere in the middle of this homemaking, child-rearing adventure, maybe last year, maybe the year before, we started to flip our days.
We don’t follow the conventional school’s calendar. Partially because it isn’t a practical and logical calendar and partially because I tend to do the opposite of anything the government feels is the only way to do something. OK. Maybe it’s more of the latter. But the point is, we don’t follow that one-size-fits-all approach, so we enjoy lessons through the warm months as well. But we do it practically.
Our daily rhythm is somewhat like this:
Most mornings I enjoy coffee with my Husband in the cool of the morning while the children sleep. These moments, and they are often just that – moments, are my most favorite of the day. Well, those and stopping at the end of the day. But we’re still at the beginning.
Breakfast, dress for the day, groom, beds.
OUTSIDE – and we start with individual and family work together. For example, I may send two to the barn to rake and the others with me to the garden to weed or we may all work together to pick up sticks (a never-ending job since we live in the woods). Or we may take all the dining chairs and barstools onto the deck and clean them, or each sweep a porch, etc. We are in someway engaged in productive work as a unit and/or individually. Afterwards, we swim in the pond. It’s generally warm enough by then and, well, kids don’t seem to notice the temperature when the sun is out…
In lieu of outdoor “chores” we might instead travel to a nearby park and I’ll take turns helping the boys with batting practice using wiffle baseballs and lobbing tennis balls to the girls. And then we may eat an early picnic lunch or hike a trail or just play on the playground.
We’ll enjoy lunch and then move immediately into lessons. Since we’re kind of tired at this point, I try to keep them moving between math and piano and a life skill. And when lessons are complete, it’s rest time. We’re up late in the summer. Much later than I am comfortable sharing.
During this rest time I generally get some light housework done. I’m take Deneice Schofield’s advice from her Confessions books and practicing selected neglect. I can’t do everything that needs getting done, so I focus on the main stuff – the floors, the main living area, the reading table, the stairs, the kitchen. Everything else can be selectfully neglected and worked on during a rainy day inside. If it ever rains again during the day.
This month we have baseball, but after this month, we will still be up late just enjoying the weather. On these late evenings, we often grill out, swim again, catch fireflies, sit on the deck watching the bats… we just are up late. These evenings are a time where my Husband and I can reconnect after the day and enjoy one another much like we enjoyed the start of our day. I wish they were every night. I believe that because we make this time together in the morning and in the night that we are able to get over one another’s shortcomings and short days more easily. I am grateful.
Generally, we take a couple of weeks to get used to the flipped schedule. But it’s a great schedule. So great, that as the night begins to fall before 8:00pm and the fireflies are gone, I start looking for private tropical islands. I could live like this forever. I think.