Holding On To Summer

Homeschooling offers the possibility of beautiful beach days well into September, but there is always something about an imminent Labor Day weekend that signals summer's end.

As the evenings get a little shorter, the mornings a little crisper, I am holding on to these late-summer days. Holding on to dinner picnics in the beaming sun, holding on to barefoot walks in the grass, holding on to swimmies and sandals and sun-splashed cheeks.

Mostly, I want to hold on to summer's simplicity. I've been marveling lately at the amount of time the kids spend in imaginative play using sticks, rocks, clam shells, and wild mushrooms. In particular, the quantity and variety of branches that the weekend hurricane tossed down have created endless hours of outdoor fun, as the kids build fire pits and forts, birds' nests and fairy kingdoms. As those who are inspired by Waldorf education already know, simple, natural, from-the-earth materials create countless opportunities for open-ended, creative play. I want to hold on to these simple "toys" even as the days grow shorter and colder and our outside time gradually wanes.

Summer is always a good reminder to slow down, to simplify, to clear schedules and use the natural world as our primary classroom. As the pace picks up this fall, and beach days grow fewer and far between, I will hold on to summer's simplicity -- and make sure we always have a good supply of sticks close by.