Summer Routines for a Happy Mom and Kids

It always makes me smile when my friends start complaining about their kids getting out of school. They wonder how they are going to get things done with the kids home all day. My perspective is just the opposite. Since we shelved the school books and completed the last worksheet a week ago, I have gotten a lot more work done. Non-school work, that is.

Although summer is a time for us to lighten up on the academic side, my days are still pretty full. I like it that way. Since I get to do what I love for a living, work is fun for me. I’m eager to be able to replace some of our active schooling time with jobs.

The danger for me is the same as it is for the non-homeschooling moms: shove the kids outside or in front of screens so I can go about my own pursuits. Although I’m looking forward to being able to get more work done, here a few ways I’ll still get plenty of time with my kids this summer and provide work for them as well as me:

1. Keep up with learning, a little.

Looking back over the year, I’ve seen improvement in all four of the kids. I don’t want them to lose any of that edge, but I want them to be able to rest their mind from the difficult things. I hope to spend more time reading aloud and having extended Bible and music times with them. I also plan to keep up their piano lessons during the summer and throw in some math and grammar drills now and then.

Reading to children.

2. No play until the work is done.

My husband and I don’t like to encourage the idea that the kids have the summer “off”. Both of us have to work nearly every day, so it doesn’t seem like good life preparation for them to do nothing. We will still maintain our “Morning chores before breakfast” and “Clean house before screens” rules. They also have table chores after each meal, and I’m giving more of the laundry over to them. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of work left for me!

3. Schedule at least two fun things each week. 

Two things particularly distinguish our summers from the school year. One is the library reading programs and the other is park days. To make sure this indoors-loving mama actually keeps up with these things, I put them in my schedule. I have already set aside one day each week to play at the park and another day to go to the library and enjoy the entertainment programs they have set up.


4. Keep two days a week relatively free.

This mama is also an introvert. No, I’m not shy and reserved. I am energized by quiet and time alone. If I have too much interaction and activity, I am tempted to be a less-than-sweet mama. So, two days of our week have nothing on the calendar. We can be spontaneous or I can work all day if I want. We can call a pajama day and play board games or do the grocery shopping. You get the idea.

How do you schedule your summers? Or do you?


  • Judy @ Contented at Home

    May 25, 2013 at 12:13 am Reply

    Love this, Jennifer! I too am an introvert, though (as you mentioned) not at all shy. I totally relate to needing plenty of alone time in order to feel like myself–quite a challenge for a homeschooling mom! 🙂
    I appreciate the encouragement to schedule time for fun activities with the kids through the summer–that’s something I’m definitely working on.

    • JenniferLSelf

      May 27, 2013 at 4:53 pm Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Judy! Glad I’m not the only introvert mom. 🙂

  • Laura

    May 26, 2013 at 2:39 am Reply

    Agreed!! Scheduling two or three fun activities each week is key, then being really low key and home a lot the rest of the time. I’m an introvert also, so if we’re out and about and socializing every day of the week, I’m a tired mama. I like your work before play rules…we try! We’re going to keep doing piano lessons and fun learning too. 🙂

    • JenniferLSelf

      May 27, 2013 at 4:54 pm Reply

      Sounds like we have similar goals, Laura! I’m not always great about enforcing the work before play, but I try as well. 🙂

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