🍒June Newsletter🐝 everything you need for a hands-on, sensory-filled, barefoot kind of summer!

“Hold out ’til Memorial weekend, and don’t let a few warm days fool you.”

Among homesteaders and gardeners alike up here in mountainous Montana, the above phrase is an old standby and one that natives just love to shower on newcomers like me. In California, I grew up hearing “April showers bring May flowers” . . . a phrase I have yet to hear in this mountain valley where spring marches to quite a different rhythm indeed. A more accurate version of this saying for our region of the country would be something like “an April flurry reminds us not to hurry.” But Montanans tend to be simple, down-to-earth, no-nonsense kind of folk. Sing-song poetry when speaking about something as everyday as weather patterns would probably be considered as fancy-pants as putting on makeup before heading to the grocery store. In fact, there isn’t even any need to change out of your mud-caked jeans. The cabbages won’t mind. And so, a straightforward “hold out ’til Memorial weekend” gets the job done just fine around here, no rhyme required.

Just an ordinary April day around here! This was taken April 27th.

Since moving to Montana almost two years ago, I have come to realize that this “four-season” region of the country feels much more like two —a long winter and a killer, shotgun wedding sort of summer. Autumn in the Great North can only be called “fall” because that’s exactly what happens. A hot-as-hell end of summer suddenly falls out from under your feet in a brilliant whirl of crunchy gold. Blink and you could miss it. Similarly, “spring” here seems to be swallowed up in a most awkward sort of pubescence; erratic winter storms interrupted by phantom glimpses of warmth and sunshine.

Spring here reminds me of that shy, nervous cousin everyone always forgets about. She rarely makes herself heard, but when her mother comes into town . . . everyone knows it. Great Aunt “Mimi” (as she is sure to be named for what a loud attention-hog she is) barges in unannounced and makes herself quite at home with no signs of ever leaving again. She rushes in and instantly takes over in a way that makes you struggle to remember what things were like before she arrived. How did you store your aprons and toiletries before she “set it to rights”? She’s loud, bossy, overbearing, front-and-center, and yet . . . you can’t deny how drawn you are to her. She really is quite a character. Her colorful personality and boundless energy are something to be admired, even if they are entirely exhausting. She dazzles you long into the wee hours of the night and then rouses you from your stupor way too early in the morning with an infuriating “rise and shine, sleepy head!”

And true to tradition, she almost always comes to town on Memorial weekend.

So, we took the native’s advice. After all, if nothing else, Montanans tend to tell it like it is and don’t seem much prone to exaggeration. Sure, we started seeds indoors and planted a good amount of fruit trees and frost-hardy plants throughout the wintry spring. But for everything else, we waited until Memorial weekend as good little apprentice Montanans. And just as promised, Great Aunt Mimi rolled into town, not a minute behind schedule, burst through our front door without so much as a knock, and announced “I’m here, y’all!”

In a single weekend, Summer has made herself at home.

The pines have put out scarlet tufts, perhaps to announce the arrival of the baby birds and stressed-out parents squatting among their branches.

Jewel beetles swim and dive among the tall grasses, shining like sparks of green and blue flame.

Blossoms bubble up through branches that two weeks ago looked like life had never existed within their ashen bones.

The nightly chorus of chirps and croaks has begun, starring a frog discovered by the kids among the new strawberry frills . . . named “Strawberry,” of course.

Swarms of Northern Blue butterflies flit among the manure piles with the occasional flash of a Swallowtail, reminding us that blue may be royal but yellow steals the show.

The hummingbirds have returned from their Cabo honeymoons and dazzle us dawn ’til dusk; swooping, sipping, and sparring at heights and speeds fit to baffle the universe.

And the children run, throwing off their coats and kicking off their shoes, to pinch it and gawk at it and roll in it and pop it into their mouths —to seize summer with all their senses.

We hold our breath and make a wish for them as they blissfully send off a thousand more dandelions to be dug —a wish for learning, growing, playing, thriving.

A wish for a rich, deeply-rooted childhood. A childhood seasoned by the lessons of winter, but celebrated always with the splendors of summer.


From our home to yours . . . everything you and your kids need for a hands-on, sensory-filled, barefoot kind of summer!

Our exact goals may vary, but I think most of us parents are singing just about the same tune these days: LET’S MAKE SUMMER GREAT AGAIN! 😛

We just have to decide . . . um . . . what exactly we’re doing! No biggie, right? Whether you are feeling uninspired in regards to summer plans, or whether you are feeling overwhelmed by too many options and frozen by some serious summer FOMO, this guide is for you . . . and me! (This guide is your guide, this guide is my guide, from California, to the New York Islands . . .) Just browse the options below, and select what inspires!

~Our 6 Week SUMMER SKILL SCHOOL~

Come along with us this summer on a truly extraordinary journey! We’re taking six weeks to spend some quality time teaching our kids practical-life skills, building independence, inspiring self-confidence, and instilling a deep respect for good, old-fashioned work. Best of all, we’re doing all of the prep and planning for you! Simply click the link below for everything you need to tackle the six skill-sets listed below one at a time with your kids! It will only require perhaps an hour or so per day (or a few hours once a week) but I assure you it’s effect will be for a lifetime! I know, because my mom Skill-Schooled me!

AGE RANGE: all of the activities in our ~Six Week Summer Skill School~ are easily suited and adaptable for kids of all ages, toddlers to teens (and some adults too 😆 )! There are many a teenager who have yet to learn to sew on a button, cook eggs three ways, or pound out a leather wallet.

TARGET SUMMER GOALS (see full list of descriptions here):

☀️ = get outside as much as possible, embracing a healthy, active lifestyle

❤️ = inspire a true love for learning

🧠 = keep my child engaged and actively learning

🛠️ = teach my child practical-life skills and build their self-confidence

😊 = have fun, de-stress, and bond as a family

Read full post with each week’s link here.


~The SOFT-SCHOOLED SUMMER; seeing the forest for the trees~

Sometimes we just want the best of both worlds. Ok, a lot of the time. And our kids’ summers are often one of those want-our-popsicle-and-eat-it-too kind of scenarios. We want to give our kids those laid back, lazy, carefree, hot and hazy summers most of us look back on so fondly . . . but we don’t want our kids going off that crazy “summer slide” (and I don’t mean a slip n’ slide, people). I’m referring, of course, to that loathsome “summer learning loss” that for the majority of kids out there is nearly as certain this season as a sunburn. And it’s almost as painful, too!

Watching our kids lose academic ground that was gained so faithfully (perhaps even painstakingly) all year long . . . it’s like that moment when the tide rolls in and washes away an entire wall of our three-story, turreted sand castle.

So, we want to keep our kids engaged and actively learning in their summer months. But . . . we also don’t want to be the dreaded “Summer Squelcher” ; you know, that parent who chases their kids around all summer long waving fact sheets and reading logs in their faces. Yeah, that’s not an inspiring image 😆 . I think what most of us want to emulate lies somewhere between drill sergeant and pushover. But what exactly does that look like? And how do we accomplish this?

Read full post here.


~SCIENCE CAMP at HOME; plunge into sensory-rich discovery~

If a child ever says that “science is boring”, it only means one thing: we’re doing it all wrong. Studies in science shouldn’t be presented as flat, from a text book, one-dimensional, randomly introduced lessons. Rather, they should be full-color, full of life, delight-directed, in our face, sensory-rich celebrations of God’s glorious creation! In short, science shouldn’t be learned; it should be discovered.

~QUICK OVERVIEW~

Science comes alive in the summer. From bugs, to beachcombing, to watching the garden grow, summer is the perfect springboard for exploring the scientific wonders of creation with our children! And with our seven simple steps outlined in this post, Science Camp at Home will be a breeze as well as a blast!

TIME REQUIRED: *flexible* ; about 1-2 hours per day scheduled experiences and activities

TARGET SUMMER GOALS (click here for full list of descriptions):

☀️ = get outside as much as possible, embracing a healthy, active lifestyle

❤️ = inspire a true love for learning

🧠 = keep my child engaged and actively learning

✔️ = catch my child up / advance my child academically

😊 = have fun, de-stress, and bond as a family

Read full post here.


~21 Ways to Help Your Child Fall in Love with Reading this Summer~

“Every time we read to a child, we’re sending a ‘pleasure’ message to the child’s brain. You could even call it a commercial, conditioning the child to associate books and print with pleasure. There are, however, displeasures associated with reading and school. The learning experience can be tedious or boring, threatening, and often without meaning . . . endless hours of work sheets, intensive phonics instruction, and unconnected test questions. If a child seldom experiences the ‘pleasures’ of reading but increasingly meets its ‘unpleasures,’ then the natural reaction will be withdrawal.”

Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook

Whether your child likes, loves, lives with, or loathes reading, this list of tips and tricks is for all us parents who desire to help our child’s love for books flourish and grow! Perhaps your child hasn’t fallen in love with reading yet. Or perhaps your child has recently fallen out of love with reading. Or perhaps your child simply prefers other things over reading and does not voluntarily read, or ask to be read to as often as you would like.

Whatever your child’s relationship with books, I hope that this list of ideas will help guide you in your quest to gift your child with a deep, life-long love for the written word!

Read full post here.


~The UNSCHOOLED SUMMER; unlocking insatiable curiosity~

“All people unschool to learn most of their knowledge during most of their lives. The only variables are how well do they do it, and when do they start.”

Clark Aldrich, Unschooling Rules

There is no better time than summer to give unstructured, spontaneous, delight-directed learning a go! Discover for yourself the strange phenomenon of love and learning unleashed the moment you choose to step away from structured lesson plans and rigid schedules. This summer, consider letting your child’s inner soul lead you on an unforgettable, wild and free adventure!

TIME REQUIRED: *flexible* ; about 3 hours per day unstructured learning/activity time

TARGET SUMMER GOALS (click here for full list of descriptions):

☀️ = get outside as much as possible, embracing a healthy, active lifestyle

❤️ = inspire a true love for learning

🧠 = keep my child engaged and actively learning

🛠️ = teach my child practical-life skills and build their self-confidence

😊 = have fun, de-stress, and bond as a family

Read full post here.


~Bringing Home the Magic of Summer Camp; Your Ultimate DIY Guide~

It was 2020 and camp was canceled. Among other things, itgot me thinking about, reminiscing on, and rallying for all things summer:

Connecting with nature . . .

learning practical life skills . . .

developing strong values and character . . .

gaining once-in-a-life-time, sensory-rich experiences . . .

having good, old-fashioned fun.

So I devoted our summer 2020 to just that: a DIY, Summer Camp at Home (which we jokingly called “Camp Quarantine” 😆 )! Whether your kids will be attending a week of *real* Summer Camp this year or not, you can keep the life-changing magic going all summer long at home! From epic recreational experiences, to vocational arts & crafts, to inspiring nature adventures, to heritage-rich traditions, Summer Camp has ~Holistic Homeschooling~ written all over it! I can’t think of another model that offers our children a wider variety of experiences, learning opportunities, and good old-fashioned fun! We have laid out a comprehensive guide to walk you through all things Summer Camp so you and your kids can lace up those boots and get on with adventuring!

TARGET SUMMER GOALS MET (see our complete goal descriptions here):

☀️ = get outside as much as possible, embracing a healthy, active lifestyle

❤️ = inspire a true love for learning

🧠 = keep my child engaged and actively learning

🛠️ = teach my child practical-life skills and build their self-confidence

😊 = have fun, de-stress, and bond as a family

TIME REQUIRED: *flexible* ; about 3+ hours per day scheduled experiences and activities

Read full post here.


SUMMER ON, SUMMER STRONG! And don’t forget to soak it all in.

Thanks for reading, my friends!

Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~

4 Replies to “🍒June Newsletter🐝 everything you need for a hands-on, sensory-filled, barefoot kind of summer!”

  1. Gahaha, I enjoyed reading this as someone who lives in the Colorado mountains… We were out shoveling 18 inches of snow off our cold frames not two weeks ago (after a month of warm weather). Glad we’re not the only ones crazy enough to try this whole homesteading gig in a place where spring and autumn last maybe a week each if we’re lucky.

    I can’t wait to try skills school with the kids this summer… they’re gonna love it!

    1. Oh, I just love it!! That’s hilarious. Well, you’re ahead of us because you HAVE cold frames. Lol, that’s all still on the to-do list. And that is so cool that you are gearing up for skill schooling with the kiddos! Makes my heart happy for your lucky kids 🙂 Thanks for following!

  2. What a beautiful pRosy ode to Spring with “Strawberry” the frog making his appearance. Just love this post!

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