Do you remember the anticipation of summer break? I can remember getting on the school bus for the last bus ride of the school year. I felt so free. Everyone had huge smiles plastered on their faces. The energy level was bursting through the bus roof! Kids jumping up and down, running from seat to seat, emptying out all of the papers from their backpacks and throwing them onto the bus floor. I remember Mrs. Meyers, our bus driver, contorting her body around in the driver’s seat yelling at us with her arm flailing all around, threatening that she would turn the bus around and take us back to school if we didn’t calm down.
Growing up in a tiny town in Wisconsin, my summers consisted of playing outside. Plain and simple. My friends and I would walk down to the abandoned railroad tracks and we would walk for what seemed like miles. We explored the woods, built forts, tried to catch crayfish. We would convince one of our parents to give us $2 so we could walk down to the other end of our small town to split an order of French fries at the one and only restaurant. On the way back we would walk through the cemetery and talk about why it was so much colder in the cemetery than the rest of the town…must be because of the dead people. We rode our bikes all over the place…mostly to neighboring towns. Some as far as 12 miles away! No parents. No helmets.
Here in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, summer break for kids is much different. It is hot. Really hot. Dangerously hot. And in my opinion, kids in this climate get ripped off of a great summer break. They can’t go out to play from sun up to sun down. To be quite honest, our daughters don’t even like summer break. They would rather be in school because they get so bored. Now, granted, many companies and businesses capitalize on this situation by offering week-long camps and other activities for kids. There are sports activities, vacation bible schools, swim teams, etc. but they all cost money. Many times these activities cost more than daycare. Because of our strict budget and strong desire to become 100% debt free, it is just not an option for us to enroll our kids in costly summer activities. Additionally, all of these activities require parents to transport their kids to and from the activity. Because Kevin and I both work full-time, we are unable to run the kids around during the day. In the end, the kids are stuck at home, inside, bored and watching way too much tv.
But guess what, friends? This summer will be different….and we can’t wait! Our decision to sell our small homestead in Gilbert, AZ and relocate to a larger property near Ava, MO will allow our kids to experience their very first REAL summer break! Hooray! And better yet, Kevin and I have vowed to have the first month at Living Traditions Homestead be family time only. There will be no electronics (aside from an occasional family movie night). We will not dive into homestead projects or renovations. We will sleep in, eat good food, play games, explore our new property, collect wildflowers, go fishing, swim in the creek, catch frogs, and whatever else we think sounds fun. It just can’t get here soon enough!!
What childhood memories to you have about summer break? How do your kids spend their summer break?