This is how I imagined my children's summers to be: loads of outdoor time coupled with just as much time spent with their nose in books.
This is what our reality has been: one (quality) book barely finished by my ten year old, ten minute reading sessions two to three times weekly for my eight year old, about five picture books weekly read with my five year old and several board books read with and eaten then torn by my fifteen month old.
I am trying not to to feel badly about the lack of reading that has been our reality this summer.
And in order to do this I have forced myself to take that much-needed step back to gain a bit of perspective and see the 'big picture'. Thank goodness for the big picture.
I sort of joked with a dear friend and homeschooling mother of five early on in the summer that my only hope for my children this summer was for them to grow tall and tan.
It seems I got my wish.
So here we are peering over the weekend into our last week of summer vacation next week with a household of children who have spent nearly every waking hour out-of-doors during these summer months. Their knees are scraped. Their skin is golden brown. They are strong and lean and fiercely agile. Their bicycle tires have been ridden bare. Our neighbors have even remarked how quiet it was one afternoon when they were out playing at friends' houses. There are days when I think I have just as much dirt inside my house then outside. My dustpan would agree with me.
By the time night falls everyone is good and tired. They want to go straight to bed and forgo their books in favor of sweet sleep. (And yes, we are 'one of those families' whose children are getting tucked in while the other neighborhood children are running around in the streets and ringing our doorbell. We believe in the seven o'clock bedtime around here (well, 7:45). It is good for parents and children alike. My children require lots of sleep and our family functions excellently with an early bedtime and lots of quiet time for the adults at night.).
But I digress.
Oh, yes, the books.
I think the fact that we are Charlotte Mason homeschoolers helps to comfort me when I am feeling like a failure for not helping my children fill their summer reading program booklets from our local library. There is so much excellent, high-quality literature being read on a daily basis in our home during the months of September through May that it is hard for me to feel like I am short-changing my wee ones. We spend several hours reading living books each day and even the free reading books that I choose with my children are high-quality classics.
So now that I have cleared my conscience and eaten humble pie over actually getting what I asked for in June, I can look confidently into the school year knowing full well that I will most certainly have a post or two to share on some really good book lists.