It's about this time every year that I start thinking ahead to fall. While deep in the heart of summertime rhythms, enjoying these full days of sunshine and water and endless play, the notices and emails about fall classes and opportunities begin sprinkling my inbox. There is always so much to choose from, so many homeschooling and community activities to consider. It's an annual challenge trying to strike just the right balance of wonderful classes and unstructured time to just read, or play, or dream. Some years, some seasons, I do a better job than others of striking this balance. Other times, I find we get carried away with so many great experiences that the pace becomes too much. There is too much shuffling from one class to the next, too many disrupted moments of playing or reading or dreaming as we rush to some commitment.
But plotting our fall rhythms at this time of year, at the height of free summer days, reminds me of the pace we strive for come fall. The summer pace is slow and simple. It allows for abundant stay-and-play time. It avoids the feeling of constant motion, of juggling and rushing and glancing at the clock. There is a certain peace that comes from these free and open days. The children are calmer, knowing that they don't need to rush off this way or that, knowing that they can become deeply immersed in their play without interruption. I am trying to follow in the footsteps of my friend, Tracy at OFFKLTR, who prioritizes slow and simple days, recognizing their power in facilitating childhood imagination and creativity.
This fall, some classes are a given. We will continue with sewing and math and recorder for my seven-year-old, and ukulele, math and soccer for my five-year-old. My three-year-old and littlest babe will just play; no need to rush any structured activities yet. We will fill the rest of the week with ad hoc activities that we can choose at the last-minute depending on how everyone is doing: weekly MFA homeschooling classes, weekly homeschool park days, more sewing and knitting classes, museum visits, frequent library trips, regular gatherings with family and friends, and so on. There are bound to be other classes or opportunities that pop up in the coming weeks, some that may be hard to resist. And so I'll think ahead to busier fall rhythms while remembering how special, how powerful, these slow and simple days can be.