When You Need a Summer of Rest
Maybe you’ve noticed that I haven’t been around for a while? Sometimes life just gets so busy that certain things fall by the wayside. Other times, I just need a break. Both happen to have been the case for me these last few months. Both are also the reasons I needed a summer of rest to restore my soul outside of blogging.
Bigger kids lead busier lives.
I couldn’t have imagined being busier than my frazzled self when babies and toddlers were running around the house. But life can indeed get busier. I travel to ballgames and instrument practices and church events. I stay up way past my bedtime to talk about things on a teen’s heart – and those can be big conversations! I spend so much more time in prayer (and worry) over these budding adults who will soon enter a crazy world. And, I find myself drawn to spending every moment possible doing things that make memories knowing one day soon my children will be making their own memories.
So there’s one excuse for my absence – as well as the unrest in my soul. Here’s another.
When big kids leave it can take time to regroup.
I’ve come a bit undone and haven’t figured out a new normal since my oldest left our homeschooling nest. We were such a team together. Cooking, cleaning, organizing – all were accomplished with the motivation and timeliness when she was still in the coop. Add the push she gave me in life to the new level of madness in our family’s schedule and you’ll find me walking in circles most days wondering where to even begin.
My boys are a constant help, but let’s just say they aren’t quite as motivated to jump into house chores as their sister was. Not to mention, that middle child of mine is spreading his wings at this very moment to fly the coop, too. With only a few months before he can drive by himself, his time will soon be far less spent at home.
Regrouping can be hard.
This all leaves me needing to reorganize myself and how we have lived life for so many years. Unfortunately, the reorganization is coming slowly because I’m just not quite sure how to pull life together with so many variables…
Crazy work schedules for two children and a husband,
crazy event schedules for all of us – sports, church events, instrument lessons, legislative events,
the need to cook almost all our meals from scratch for health reasons,
living on a farm where there’s not only much to do, but everywhere we go is a drive,
and one momma who is feeling a bit of a mid-career homeschooling slump.
I really could go on, but I think you get the picture that I’m a bit overwhelmed and needing to hatch a plan. Long gone are the days when our little homeschooling family had a weekly schedule that easily fit in the basics (school lessons, cooking, cleaning, etc.) AND the regular extras like co-op classes, field trips and service projects – and blogging. Y’all, I’m in survival mode here.
I have to believe I’m not the first homeschooling mom of teens to live in this place of chaos???
This summer became my summer of rest.
You might think with all the unrest, I would’ve use my carefree summer hours to tackle the issues head on and devise a new and foolproof plan for running a tight ship again. Nope. This summer was the time for me to step back and just rest.
My summer of rest wasn’t about sleeping, but doing things that rest my soul. I also spent as much time as possible stepping away from my role as homeschool momma of sixteen years and into the role of just being momma – a fun momma – to those ever-growing children of mine. I’m not working hard to try to fix my chaos at this point because I trust the Lord will give me wisdom and gumption soon. (Or maybe an inexpensive housecleaner will show up on my doorstep needing immediate work. And she’ll enjoy cooking and painting and organizing closets just as much as she enjoys cleaning toilets.)
What things have I been doing to rest my soul this summer?
Leaning into the Word
This is the obvious and most important place I turn when I’m in need of rest. The peace God offers doesn’t even make sense when the world is spinning around you, yet peace I find in Him. He also beautifully and gently makes things clear when I step away from the chaos to spend time with Him. He is all I really needed to find the perfect rest this summer.
Listening to Podcasts
Countless dishes were washed and clothes folded as I nourished my soul with encouragement and refreshing ideas. Because I’m rather new at listening to podcasts, there were plenty of shows and episodes to download all summer. My absolute favorites in alphabetical order: Homeschool Snapshots, HomeschoolingIRL, The Mason Jar, Read Aloud Revival, and Your Morning Basket.
Reading Great Books
Summer has always been about reading lots of wonderful books on the porch swing with my children. Some of Eli’s favorites this summer: (All great books for boys, by the way. Just skip over the curse words in The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be.)
I also took some time out to read books that were just for me this summer. I’ve rarely taken the time to read my own literature before and it was nice. I only got in two novels, but I’m happy with that.
Trips here and there are important for our family since summer days can become quite busy on the farm. I think they are especially important for me as homeschooling mom who lives and works daily in the same place. I don’t know about you, but I can easily lose my fun self as the boundaries blur at home and the daily task list grows.
Afternoons at the pool, evenings out to the county fair, and a few day trips were easy to do without much preparation. We also enjoyed a little trip to Holiday World and a wonderful (and much needed) family vacation to our beloved Indian Rocks Beach. My husband and I even got away for a weekend to watch our first ever Nascar race in Indianapolis.
Real Summertime Relaxation
Whether I watched my kids play, or waited on a storm to blow in, or ate a meal with my family, the back porch was a constant companion this summer. It’s my very favorite place to sit and let the world go on without me. While you don’t see a picture of my porch anywhere here, you can see one of my favorite views in the top picture below. Eli talked his dad into rolling the cattle trough into our yard for his own mini pool.
Slow productivity is still productivity.
While I wasn’t overly-productive, I did get some things done. You’ll see a post about our school schedule and curriculum soon on which I spent several hours planning. We’re using some new-to-us curriculum this year and I’ve divided our school year into four distinct terms for the first time ever. We’re all pretty excited about the changes.
I also did some deep cleaning and reorganizing of several rooms. Van loads were donated to community yard sales and Goodwill. Is it just me or do you also feel such a burden lifted when you take the time to purge?
Most importantly, because I took some time to rest and refresh and have fun, I’ve been able to jump back into homeschooling this year with peace and joy – when, honestly, I was hitting the mid-career homeschooling slump so hard by the end of our last school year that I wondered how I could make it nine more years.
I’m hoping to be back here more often.
You might be glad to know that I’m beginning to feel a stir in my heart to jump back into my beloved blog. Hopefully, you’ll see some fruits from that stirring soon. There are so very many things I hope to write about that I just know will encourage you in your homeschooling journey!
Tell me…How was your summer? Have you ever found yourself in the mid-career homeschooling slump? Or, perhaps you’ve found yourself a bit undone when your children begin to fly from the nest? I’d love to hear from you!
I”m so glad you’re here, Cindy. This summer has been a bit “off” for me. Too busy, not enough rest and relaxation, and I feel like I can’t put my thoughts in order. I can imagine you felt a little “off” too when your oldest left home! I think for me it’s the oldest entering high school and the youngest being a VERY tricky toddler entering preschool is what’s throwing me. I’m excited to see your back-to-homeschool posts, as your blog has always been one of my very favorites. Here’s to a great school year! Happy September, friend! 🙂
Cindy…you so perfectly summed up my heart stirrings! I love how you perfect captured those stirrings/feelings/emotions with words. (Regrouping can be HARD! Slow productivity is still productivity! Yes!!) I’m so grateful I get to walk through this crazy season with you!! And I’m so glad you will be back on the blog more…you are such an inspiration and mentor to me and so many other homeschooling families! Love ya!!! Happy New School Year to you!
Cindy, I sure missed you but definitely understand the time off needed!!! I am a newly “single” mom after 17 yrs of marriage. This is our 4th year homeschooling as I’ve consulted with you a couple of years. I’m now working a part time job, 8:00am – 12:00 noon. When I get home we are joined by 3 other children and we do evening homeschooling. I feel as though I have no one on one communication with my kids because everything is always a rush. My son is a 9th grader this year, so fitting it all in, I worry. Anyway, I’ve always loved reading your blog and taking your advice to heart, even though sometimes I cant seem to implement the things I so dearly would love to. Looking forward to all you have to offer this year. Thanks so much!!!
Cindy, I hear ya girl! We haven’t graduated any yet, but this year finds us starting middle school. I must admit, I’m a bit bewildered sometimes as to what to do. Trying to feel my way through this new season of school and hormones. ( Hers and mine:).)
You have been such an encouragement and blessing to me from the beginning of this journey.
Ooh, bewildered is a good word! And, I certainly understand hormones – wait, I should say I don’t really understand hormones. LOL Happy schooling to you, too!
Stephanie, I’m very sorry to hear about your marriage. You can do this, though! It sounds like you have a plan and just need to tweak a few things – like me. One on one time isn’t necessary – preferred, but not necessary. Think about the teacher/student ratio in the public school classroom! You’re doing a great job and I admire you for sticking with your convictions to homeschool as a single mom.
Friends to walk with through these changes are a blessing from the Lord – and you are certainly a blessing! Love you, too. 🙂
Boy, do I understand what you mean by “off.” I had a similar age gap as you when Mahayla was entering high school. Eli was a busy four-year old and I thought I might lose my mind some days. I made it, though. You will, too! P.S. I was SO excited when I thought I was going to get to meet you in real-life in TN. I’m truly going to miss you SO much!
Such a blessing to read this, Cindy! I feel like I know you so much better. I almost wish school wasn’t starting because I need one of these summer’s of rest right now!