I love summer! The school books have been put away, the daily schedule shelved, and three months of pure unschoolified fun stretches before us. There are picnics to be had, swimming to be enjoyed, lazy evenings of sitting on the porch enjoying the fresh breeze, and summer night sounds to be savored.
But where I live, summer passes in a snap and often leaves us blinking and wondering where the time went. We still wanted to go out for ice cream, take in a ball game, go on a long bike ride, and hunt for crawdads in the creek.
Making the Most of Your Summer
To keep that from happening, a few years ago I created and posted a summer bucket list with about fifteen items to accomplish as a family. It was a great tool and lots of families completed the items and stored away a truckload of summer memories to be brought out and enjoyed when the bleak winter of life eventually settles.
Interestingly enough, I was in South Dakota this past winter speaking at a church. I stayed at the pastor’s house, where he and his seven children lived. As we were talking, I saw a poster board attached to the front door with a headline written in multi colored markers, “100 THINGS to do THIS SUMMER.”
In four columns of 25 items each, were lists of things they planned to do over the summer. Some of the activities were pretty cut and dry:
- Visit an antique store
- Go swimming
- Watch 4th of July fireworks
But others were specific like
- Play croquet
- Make a driveway obstacle course
- Get a manicure with the girls
I was blown away by the list and the fact that most of the items were checked off (it’s a guide, not a contest).
I know some might think, "Why do I need to put, “wash car together" on my bucket list?” The reason is because otherwise you might let the whole summer go by without accomplishing it. It's not that it matters two hoots if the car gets washed, but the time spent doing it together is so easily missed and forgotten.
The great thing about a summer bucket list is that it keeps you focused on what matters because it’s so easy to spend the whole summer doing things that don't. And the cool thing about the list…in poster board form, is that it serves as a reminder of all the eternal fun you had long after the activity is past.
How to Create A Smiling Homeschooler Bucket List
So I’m going to help you create A Smiling Homeschooler Summer Bucket List.
First, stop by your local discount store and get a piece of white poster board. Once you get it home, gather your kids together along with a handful of colored markers.
Make FOUR columns of numbers 1-25, 26-50, 51-75, 76-100 and start filling it in as the kids shout out activities. My only suggestion: keep it simple and specific (don’t write “clean the house, play outside, or ride bikes," Instead write, “Clean out the garage, play a game of badminton, or ride our bikes to the park.”
Don‘t be in a hurry. You might have some blanks at the end, but that’s OK. Post it in a prominent place, and I bet you’ll think of other items to add along the way.
This isn’t an assignment to make you feel overwhelmed but a guide to help you make the most of your summer. It’s just like the old saying goes, “The homeschool mom who didn’t know where she was going…never got there.”
In my head I see an older you finding the poster board years later as you clean out a closet. You’ll place it on a table and run down the list with your eyes and you’ll sigh with deep satisfaction knowing you spent that summer well.
BUT…it won’t happen if you don’t make the list.
Have a wonderful, school-free summer.
Todd Wilson, author of Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe and Help! I’m Married to a Homeschooling Mom, is a dad, writer, conference speaker, and former pastor. Todd’s humor and gut-honest realness have made him a favorite speaker at homeschool conventions across the country and a guest on Focus on the Family. Todd and his wife Debbie homeschool their eight children in northern Indiana and travel around America in the Familyman Mobile. You’ll find Todd at Familyman Ministries and The Smiling Homeschooler.