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Building Summer Memories

Rachael Carman|June 5, 2017

Ah, the summer memories from my childhood! I  don’t ever remember ever wearing shoes during the summer months. I remember cool, foggy mornings with early birds heralding the dawn of a new day. I remember sleeping in, and I mean late. Nowadays that means 7:30 or 8 o’clock, but during my childhood, it meant pushing noon.

I remember the critters of summer—frogs, horny toads, crawdads, locusts, butterflies, dragonflies, bumblebees, and ladybugs. Of course, there were also the pests—wasps, mosquitoes, and flies—but they were worth enduring for the pleasures of summer.

Summer meant catching fireflies in jars, watching shooting stars, seeing fireworks, and playing with sparklers. It meant chiggers and Campho-Phenique to stop the itching. Summer meant gardens, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and squash. It meant watermelon with salt and seed-spitting contests on the back porch.

The heat of summer meant cool pools and squirt guns, hoses and sprinklers. We did lots of running, jumping, climbing, and falling, with plenty of time for imagining, pretending, hoping, and wondering. We would play all day, sometimes completely forgetting lunch while we were off on some adventure. The crickets were several stanzas into their evening song before we were finally called indoors.

We would return home covered in sweat with filthy feet and blood crusted around skinned knees and elbows. Yet we were content, at peace, and tired from the day’s play. After being thoroughly scrubbed with a washrag and Ivory soap, we went to bed and listened to the crickets. The frogs joined in and their chorus drifted through our bedroom window with the summer breeze, while an electric fan hummed in the background.

School was far from our thoughts, yet the first day of school arrived all too quickly. School meant new clothes, new books, and new challenges. It meant the end of play and the end of freedom, to be replaced by bells, schedules, and homework. School meant having to read books about what other people thought was important, writing paragraphs about uninteresting topics, and trying to stay awake in class. Too often, school meant an end to creativity. It meant “have to” instead of “want to” and the frustration of tests and report cards.

I remember thinking, When I’m grown up, nothing will change. I will still chase fireflies. I will lie on a blanket and watch the clouds. I will play in the water. I will go to sleep listening to the crickets. I will enjoy my summers and not spend my time inside doing other stuff. But as you’ve guessed, I grew up and got distracted by the urgencies of life. Even (if not especially) as a homeschool mom, I have gotten so caught up in all the “stuff” of life that I have not always taken time to enjoy summers.

Summer is still a time to be enjoyed and savored, a time to build memories with your family. It’s a time to share laughter and marvel at the mysteries of creation. It’s a time to balance the art of relaxing with the necessity of preparing for the fall. I am not advocating doing nothing or becoming lazy. But I do want to encourage you to be intentional about investing time in summer activities with your children that will give you a strong foundation to build upon and a reserve to draw upon when the going gets tough during the long winter months.

Here are just a few practical suggestions:

So what are you doing with your summer vacation?

If you enjoyed this post by Rachael Carman, enjoy reading Filling Our Empty Cisterns.

Rachael Carman is an author and speaker for Apologia Educational Ministries. The wife of Davis and the mother of seven children, Rachael challenges parents to live by reckless, obedient faith. As a direct reflection of her heart’s desire to encourage, inspire, and celebrate motherhood, Rachael leads the Real Refreshment Retreat’s weekend events that energize and invigorate homeschooling mothers with plus practical encouragement for the homeschool journey.  She is the author of How To Have A H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids, How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?, and co-author of How to Homeschool with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus. Enjoy more encouragement and inspiration from Rachael by visiting her blog at