Wrapping ‘Summer Love’ into a New School Year

summer lemonadeI’ll admit it’s work, but I love it.

I love camping…. the dust clouds and the cicadas’ rhythmic swell and the  sun leaking into  the thin tent nylon in the early morning, insistent.

Our rusty old  camp grill and the Coleman  torch that scatters just a bit of an ethereal Hey-summer-we-survived-this-year’s-algebra-and-ancient-history-and-disappointments-and-triumphs-and-we’re-back-to-settle-in-your-scheduleless -rustic-August glow.

The whispers of “Did you SEE that one?” as a midnight  meteor arcs  across black velvet sky, centuries old pine trees framing. And the hushed, “Hey can you find Cassiopeia up there?”

The clink of the backgammon dice on a rainy day and the splash of dockjumping and King of the Hill on a scorched, sunny one.

The glassy lake reflecting pines and the lemon yellow and ivory lily pad flowers arching heavenward.

The greeting of those we know from years past with hugs and catching up on our year, how all the kids have grown so.

The connect the dots pattern of mosquito bites we all bear and the roasted to perfection s’mores. The pungent aroma of a campfire through hair and sweatshirts. Nothing says ‘summer’ like that smell.

The sound of tents unzipping, the hushed voices as we crawl inside for the night. The snapping of glow sticks to give us a bit of light.

And finally, I like returning home, after all the work of breaking down tents, campstoves and stowing sleeping bags.  And as the laundry is attacked and the tent is aired and carefully stashed in the attic for another 11 months, I love how  my husband and I talk of the “packing list” and refine, redo, and tweak so that items are eliminated, added. Checklists of things and, more importantly, of hearts. Certain to make next time even better.

And that’s what the rest of this month and the rest of time, really, holds for me….Holds for all of us. The “making even better” part. The set up of the school room, the careful outline of lesson plans, the careful organization, labeling, arranging of the materials, the supplies.

But mainly, the guidance and the patience that is sought. Because this year as we begin, unbelievable though it sounds,  our ninth year of home educating our children, the most important thing on our to-do list is not the polynomials and that awesome history website, that wonderful writing program, the newly sharpened pencils and the fresh binders.

It is, of course,  begging grace and guidance from Our Lord. That we create a safe harbor for the academics, yes. But as well, the Faith.

That we balance and bestow.

That we are humbled and inspired to learn along with our children on our journey.

A homeschooling mom and Faith and Family life columnist at Mater et Magistra magazine and www.catholicmom.com, Christine has also had several pieces published within collections, most recently Stories for a Homeschool Heart and God Moments II. Chris lives in New York with her husband and their two lively boys who continuously color their lives with an unbridled enthusiasm for theater, travel and all things action/adventure! Despite holding two degrees in Education and teaching for over a dozen years, she maintains that the most meaningful learning happens at home, within the heart of the family. Please visit her blog at

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