Picture it: New Jersey, summer, 2012. A group of adorable, if small, suntanned children seated at their astonishingly gorgeous mother’s sandaled feet, listening attentively as she reads to them from their well-rounded selection of children’s literature classics. They’ve just been to the library and have a fresh supply. In the morning, they ate their healthy breakfast before working on their light seat work (handwriting and a few math questions). Later in the afternoon, they’ll work on their vegetable garden that they’re growing for both fun and educational purposes, before either taking a walk or just playing in the back yard. The day is evenly divided between work and play and all is right with world. Ah, what a summer that would be.
Now, picture it: the reality. My husband and my often frazzled self and our five little ones live in an apartment that is too small for us, and, much as I love the idea of schooling year round, I’ve decided that it’s hard enough schooling during the school year and have given up on even the most basic of school related tasks for the summer. We have no backyard, and therefore no vegetable garden, and while we do make frequent use of the library, we are as likely to return with a large stack of unrelated books that are anything but classics as we are to return empty-handed, having instead spent our time on a craft or playing checkers. The most outdoorsy we get is our almost daily walk to my sister’s, who does in fact have a lovely backyard, where the children do run around as all children should during the summer. The two pictures don’t quite match up.
And that’s OK.
What I’ve learned from both living in my apartment and homeschooling is that things don’t always happen the way you think they will, but they can always be amazing. What you do with your time is up to you, and as moms, especially as homeschooling moms, we are the ones who can makes our kids’ days either just about perfect or just about as boring as it can get. So we don’t have a yard. Isn’t that what the park is for? So we don’t have much money. Last I checked, fun was free (no really; check out almost any website for your local area and I guarantee you will find a list of fun filled activities that are 100% free). And so we can’t school year round. At least we’ll be well-rested when the Fall comes. It doesn’t matter where you live, what size your house (or apartment) is, how much money you have (or don’t; my husband is currently unemployed so we’re not exactly flush), or if what you have isn’t what you want. All that matters, when it comes right down to it, is our attitudes, as the mom. Sure, my kids may not have tons of space, indoors or out, but they have each other, and they have me, something that is very important to both my husband and me. So I don’t get to have the perfect homeschool classroom. Who does? So it’s almost logistically impossible to have the type of school day and year I’d prefer. At least I get to homeschool, something I know many people would love to be able to do but, for whatever reason, can’t. So this summer, no matter what, I plan on being happy, having fun with my kids, and staying awesome. What do you have planned?
Bridget Green is a homemaker in her own little world of the Le. Rheims apartment building where she homeschools and raises her five little monkeys. When not being fabulous, she writes about her crazy life and family at her blog, Life at Le. Rheims.