We’ve reached the point in the school year where it is essentially over. My two teenagers will still go to the school buildings for four more days, but those days will be filled with administrivia and a last minute test or two. They’ve managed to not fail classes, which wasn’t a certain thing a week ago. This not-failing is because of a last minute scramble to turn in work which somehow didn’t get done or turned in earlier in the term. Four days from now we embark on summer.
I know some families whose summers are filled with extra trips and outings. They strive to keep their kids busy and engaged. This summer is packed to the edges with work for Howard and me. We will sneak in family activities around the edges, but for the most part summer for our kids means lots of free time rather than lots of structured activity. July will have some school in it, because both of my teens are doing some independent study work. I’ll probably reinstate my rule from last year where I don’t police screen time as long as the kids spend a pre-agreed amount of time either learning or making before they screen. But that is the limit of structure that I believe I can sustain while also sustaining the quantity of business tasks I need to do.
The learning and making is important because it requires my teenagers to stretch themselves. They begin to explore who they might want to be as adults. They begin to define who they are right now. I might add an additional requirement about getting out and doing things with friends. Perhaps I’ll even require that some of that friend time take place at not-always-my-house. I love having my kids’ friends here, but my kids need to learn how to navigate being a visitor at someone else’s house. They don’t do that often enough.
The other half of my children are both adults. They will be working, one at a job (once he acquires one) and one at setting up a freelance career. All four kids will get pulled in to the shipping work that needs to be done this summer. I suspect we will all be tired of packages before it is done.
With all six of us home all day, we’ll all have to participate in more household clean up. There will be more negotiation over use of space. There will be more times where we’re getting in each other’s way. For now I’m fine with that. By the end of August I’ll be longing for the structure that a school schedule supplies, but for now I’m glad to let it go.