Every year as we head into mid-June, my family’s rhythm shifts to a summertime mood – a lovely out-breath of time outside in the water, garden, and woods, playing with friends and picking berries, and plenty of time for reading aloud on the couch too.
I’m a big fan of a daily and weekly rhythm that keeps our family life peaceful and predictable, but our rhythm is guided by the seasons. It’s the little traditions that mark this season as summer that we’ll all remember in years to come.
This month I want to challenge you to plan a seasonal rhythm for your year.
I’ll walk you through a few questions below to help with your planning. You’ll get the most out of this challenge if you actually write your answers down, so I also have a printable worksheet for you here (in color or black & white):
Let’s dive in!
How would you like summer to feel for your family?
For me, summer is a time of out-breath. I want it to feel expansive and playful. I want us to feel freedom and spontaneity and the joy of being out of doors much of the day. How do you want summer to feel for your family?
How will your daily and weekly rhythms reflect the summertime season?
I often recommend starting with anchors in your daily rhythm that will stay the same year-round. Bedtimes, morning routines, and meals are a great place to start! You might have other rituals like a family day, or a time when you go for a walk, read aloud, or pray together that your children can count on happening in a predictable way throughout the year.
Much of your daily and weekly rhythms though could be adapted to fit the season….
For example, in the summer will you start the day working in the garden before it gets too hot? Will swimming be part of your daily routine and will you eat lunch outside? Are there regular weekly activities you can let go of in this season to make room for more free play? Think about how to match your daily activities to how you want summer to feel.
What are your can’t-miss summer activities?
Think about what activities are unique to summer and make a note. This could be berry picking and making your own strawberry jam, a festival in your town, camping or a trip to the beach. What will your children say when they grow up (“When I was a kid, every summer we….”)?
Do you plan to celebrate any festivals in the summer?
There aren’t as many summer festivals in the Waldorf tradition (one reason I think this is a great season to start planning ahead!). But I think it’s really important to celebrate festivals that have meaning for your family. Festivals could be inspired by your religious traditions and community, the Waldorf traditions, what’s going on in your local homeschool community, what you did in your own family growing up, or the season itself.
So what will you celebrate this year and how will you do it? Festivals can be very simple but still beautiful and meaningful for your family (in fact, I think those things often go together!).
Here’s a tip! On your calendar, note the dates of all the festivals you plan to celebrate this year and then note a date one month in advance – that’s a good time to start gathering ideas and preparing. You might want to make special crafts or decorations (and you’ll need to have the supplies on hand), organize a gathering with friends, make gifts by hand to surprise your children, or learn a story to tell or songs to sing. These things take time to prepare in advance so give yourself that time!
What’s one family tradition you want to start for the summer season?
This is your reminder to start with one thing when you want to make any changes in your family rhythm. I have a tendency to get excited about ideas and plan in way too much – do you do that too? Build your family traditions slowly and steadily. And enjoy making memories together!