Thursday, August 25, 2016

summer reflections

Tomorrow my oldest 3 children return to school and my 4th child begins his first year of formal schooling.

My. Are they excited.

My. Am I excited. :)


It always takes me a while  at the onset of summer vacation to adjust to being Commander in Chief of The Crew 7 days a week 24 hours a day.

By the end of summer vacation I realize what an enormous asset The Crew has become in the daily push and pull of life. I'm not sure if I'm quite ready to give them back to the teachers and books.

On second thought, I am ready.

Productivity will plummet on the home front.

But that's ok.

We're all ready for a new routine and new people and new ideas.

We've worked our physical muscles hard the last 3 months.

Now its time to give our brains a good work out.

There were a number of blog posts that began developing over the summer but never made it further than that.

I found my position of Commander in Chief to be thoroughly consuming and taxing and rewarding.

{ I must add at this point that I  both admire and am jealous of those who enjoy administration work at this level. Anyone who knows me well knows that this is not one of my greatest strengths.}

Most years I spend several hours writing out  goals for each child and creating work charts to keep us all on track.

This year I decided to try to get the children more involved in setting their own goals. In order to accomplish this, I created a questionnaire for them.

A few of the questions that I had them answer were:

1. What skill would you like to develop this summer?

2. Which household chore would you like to be responsible for this summer?

3. How can you serve your family?

4. How can you serve your community?

5. What relationship would you like to nurture?

6. What do you wish we would do more often as a family?

7. How can you prepare to enter 7th grade? (5th, 3rd, 1st)

I found their answers to be surprisingly creative, helpful and hilarious.

I allowed them to dictate a few of their own chores. Some were not optional.

At the end of the summer I find myself mostly proud of their accomplishments.

-Angeline sewed her own school dresses and also made a dress for one of our favorite little friends.

-Nicholas baked all our bread.

-Nicholas gave Christopher piano lessons.

-Christopher is proud to have about 3 pieces of music under his belt.

-Angeline took her position as Christopher's preschool teacher very seriously as she created lesson plans and made flash cards and took him on field trips.

-Christopher ended up wishing he had NOT volunteered to wash breakfast dishes.

-Josh got really, really good at emptying the trash.

-It was special to see Josh spend more time with Tristan than what I would've planned for him had he not specified that he would like to nurture that relationship.

-Elliana got to spend lots of quality time with her older siblings. I am going to miss the free babysitting services like crazy.

-One day I took my corn husking crew over to help a young married lady from church do corn.

-Nicholas and Joshua both spent hours mowing lawn, for us and for a few neighbors.

-Angeline babysat while I did a few photo-shoots and Nicholas was my right hand man during the photo-shoots.

-The boys trained for long distance running.

-We went on an overnight camping trip.

-The boys are learning how to care for and train a puppy

I am sure I am missing some accomplishment of someone this summer. These were the ones that popped into my brain as I was writing.

The two words I have for this summer as it draws to a close are REWARDING and EXHAUSTING.

It's so rewarding, both for me and the children, to gain new skills and to push into new territory.

It's exhausting to stay caught up- physically and mentally- with six children who are developing, learning and growing at neck breaking speed.

And it's so WONDERFUL to be sending these 4 children back to school. Back into an environment that is safe and stimulating and exciting. Back into an environment where I know they will thrive and grow.

I plan to linger a little longer over my coffee and enjoy time with my littlest girls.

I plan to deep clean some corners that got swiped over this summer.

And maybe, just maybe.... I'll crank out a few more blog posts.