We just spent more than three hours at the library and almost no one else was there—it wasn’t lonely, but rich with words and so quiet (for everyone but me, since I was working with the nonstop chatter of the 3yr old). That long stretch with nothing to do, no plans, no real destination—I was getting serious summer vibes. When we left the building we were all running on fumes—evidently I don’t pack snacks anymore?—but it was worth it.
I am allowed to have summer vibes this week because our classical conversations co-op group wrapped up last week, and then a big history research paper that Lux had was due this week. She still has three online classes until the first week of June, but it feels like energies can shift a bit around here. She’ll do a much less work with me and I’ll see which of the younger ones would like to engage more.
I’ve started some seedlings in the window—always a sign for me that the house is turning a bit more toward outdoor projects that are open-ended and steady. I will post on my blog soon with last year’s garden recap and this year’s garden goals.
Costa Rica Travel Recap: I’m working writing this up!
A few things I’ve been inspired by lately…
The light is changing so much. It’s light past dinner now. 7pm arrives in a blink. The late afternoon feels like mid-day. Mixes everyone up, we forget to have dinner, we have lunch at 2, we stay up later, but I love it. Such a sign of the season.
Perhaps you’ve noticed this already, I love the travel research stage. I love having to figure out new things, and understand how new things work. I like seeing signs in different languages, and squinting at maps. It’s really fun for me. We are now planning for a trip to Paris at the end of May, and I’ve got a big stack of books checked out from the library. Joe and I have been listening together to Rick Steves interviewing various travel experts on his more open-ended travel podcast. We are both reading The Seine: The River that Made Paris. And of course I’m emailing my friends that have lived in, or do live in Paris now, quizzing them, not to mention cross-checking substack newsletters with Paris reviews….
Years ago we put our Boston apartment on one of those house-swap internet sites and a family from Paris came and stayed in our apartment while we were away over Christmas. We never had the chance to swap back and stay with them, but I have really fond memories of coming back to our apartment after they’d left—all sorts of French treats in the fridge and a long handwritten note about what a nice time they’d had. Somehow this makes I feel like I already have friends in the city.
Podcasts for kids
A reviewed list of podcasts for kids, by Common Sense Media. Good idea! The goofy Greeking Out podcast spread like wildfire through our community; it's nice to see some new recommendations. Hiding out in a cool dark room with a podcast on and some paper to draw on—sounds like summer to me.
Two Podcasts for You
+ Elle Garrels, (pictured above) the wife of musician Josh Garrels, gave a long interview to a podcast geared toward young moms called Love in a Cottage. It’s a lovely, thoughtful interview giving some background on how they ended up homeschooling, what Elle enjoys about it, how she limits her social media engagement and her approach to the myriad of hobbies that she loves. I appreciated her note about how they have slowly strayed away from more curriculum-focused to a simpler structure for their day.
+ I don’t keep up with the many, many interviews on the 1000 Hours Outside podcast, but my friend Bridget sent me the one with Kim John Payne and it is powerful. Payne has been talking for years about the power of limits and freedom for children, the topic is his jam, and the man knows a lot. He can reel off statistics about the marketing directed toward children while balancing his message with kind encouragement for parents. Definitely make time for this episode.
This may sound a bit extreme but looking back on this year, I don’t regret a single online class we signed up for. We have lots of free time every day, the kids sleep in and stay up late reading every night, so keep that in mind, but concentrated, hour-long classes surrounded by unstructured time seems to work well. So when my brother Wilson sent me this tweet thread about an online problem-solving class that works in cohorts called Synthesis, I was ready to be excited rather than skeptical. After reading up on it for a bit, I’m still excited, even though the waitlist is 3+ months long.
Let me know if you check it out.
And here’s a thread from one of the founders about what his kids are doing for homeschool. Interesting! *Full disclosure, I’m uncomfortable with some of the language used in these tweets. Lately, I find ‘forest school’ mentions to feel really privileged—maybe it’s the employment crisis that changed that for me? Not only did your kids hang out in nature with a coordinated peer group for a good bit of the day but they had a full fledged teacher with them the whole time? I also don’t like it when those who can homeschool talk about school environments being ‘soul-crushing.’ It’s just feels mean. All that to say: it’s still cool to hear what they are doing at home, and I appreciate that he shared it.
And, a long day quote just for you…
We come back to boredom a little bit—because if we allow decompression time, and allow and give the kids what I call, as you probably saw in the book, the gift of boredom. Right? Then they'll just kind of sit because one of the things that boredom does is that it's the precursor to creativity. It's the precursor to adaptability. It's the precursor to innovation because we're not presenting our kids and saying, “Oh, they're bored, okay, let's get them into another club. Let's get the playdate. Oh, just to see if I can organize. Hang on. Where's the iPad? I'll put the iPad on. Let's have another show.”
Just let them be bored. Now, the reason boredom and decompression and downtime is so important—on a body based level, it allows the neurotoxins to actually clear the system and allows a child to reset every single day, several times a day. -Kim John Payne, interview
Header image via Swissmiss, long ago.
Rachael, can you please share the site you used for house swapping? We’ve long considered doing this as we live in a vacation destination of sorts (Aquidneck Island, just north of Newport) and would love to take advantage!
Evidently I don't pack snacks anymore. Lol. I've found myself in this predicament too, now that they're older. Fend for yourselves! Bookmarking that Elle Garrels interview.