Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Whistling While They Work

Our kids' final day of school was last Friday.  Because Derek was out of town for the weekend, I packed everyone up and we headed south for a whirlwind trip to see aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents and pigs and cows.  I'll be telling all sorts of fun stories about that excursion soon, but today we need to discuss something far more pressing and exciting:  It's summer vacation.  And do you know what 'summer vacation' means to me?

My work force is back.

Listen, we do not live in a particularly giant house, nor do we live in a particularly fancy or fussy house, but there are five people living here, and it takes a lot of elbow grease to keep this place from descending into a quagmire of nastiness.  Summer vacation means four extra elbows here all day to help keep entropy at bay and do all the fun summer things like clean the windows and mop the floors and wash the towels.

Me with my three favorite scrubbers.  Look how excited they are to clean for their mother.

This does not, of course, mean that they aren't going to be doing fun things with their time off of school.  There will be many library visits and trips to the public garden and maybe even an afternoon or two at the pool for those days when I'm feeling up to keeping three children from drowning for three straight hours (read: rarely).  But our kids are, well, kids, and while fun things during summer are in order, I've spoken at length in the past about the word "bored" and what its utterance means around here.  I am not my children's camp counselor, nor am I their activities director, so unless I want them to grow up into useless slugs, I will not allow them to spend their collective childhood as useless larvae.  And if you think this is an overreaction, let me tell you about that time a year or so ago when a sweet college girl approached me at church about volunteering in our children's department.  I handed her the exceedingly simple application, and in return she didn't so much as reach for a pen, but instead looked at me with a facial expression so vacant I expected to see a buzzing motel sign advertising the same right there on her forehead.  It turns out her mother had filled out every application and piece of paperwork that had ever dared to drift into her precious jewel's path up until then.  I had to teach a nineteen-year-old girl how to fill in basic personal information.  I don't even want to talk about the reference section, which took up twenty minutes and 90% of my patience.

Oh, and before you go thinking that perhaps I was being too hard on her, perhaps her mental faculties are of the sort that she will always need help filling out applications?  Let me reassure you that the charm oozing out of this girl before she realized that I am immune to fluttering giggles and wide-eyed smiles told me otherwise.  I was nowhere near rude, but instead just as firm as I am with our children, and hey- she now knows what a reference is.

As for our kids, they cleaned out from under their beds today, and two kitchen drawers have been organized.  Tomorrow Adelaide gets to clean all the kitchen cabinet fronts, Atticus will be vacuuming upstairs, and Cade gets to help me clean out the art cabinet.  Then I'll make popsicles for all to enjoy while listening to Hank the Cowdog audiobooks because that is their current idea of a dream summer afternoon, and I'm not completely heartless.



  1. Your work force will be well prepared for Life.

    As for teens filling out applications: Two summers ago I sent my son out to local eating and retail establishments to look for a summer job. (I prayed fervently about this: "Any job, please!" but my prayer was answered with a "no.")

    My son called me from each and every location and asked me each time to read him the phone number for his reference. I was appalled that I had failed to teach him about this. I thought I had done my job by forcing my children, when they reached 10th grade, to fill out their own forms for participating in extracurricular events. I guess I should have started earlier.

  2. I am LOVING summer break! Funny the difference between public schooling and homeschooling parents--I am just happy they are going outside and playing all day. I'll clean now, if they'll just go play. Grin And they are happy to be FREE to play instead of doing school and helping around the house. I'm sure chores will resume at some point (we are only one week into break) but for now we are all happy with the current arrangement.


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